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Full text of "History of Lee County, Illinois"

TO THE READER OF THIS 
VOLUME 

Kindly liandlc tliis book with the utmost 
care on account of its fragile condition. 
The binding has been done as well as pos- 
sible under existing conditions and will 
give reasonable wear with proper opening 
and handling. 

Your though tfulness will be appreciated 



u 



HISTORY 



OF 



Lee County 



ILLINOIS 



By FRANK E. STEVENS 



ILLUSTRATED 



VOLUME I 



CHICAGO 

THE S. J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1914 



SAUK VALLEY COLLEGE 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

THE IXDIANS 7 

CHAPTER II 

THE BEGINNING OF THINGS 17 

CHAPTER III 

OLD TRAILS 27 

CHAPTER IV 

LEE COUNTY WHILE A PART OF OGLE 51 

CHAPTER V 

ORGANIZATION OF LEE COUNTY 59 

CHAPTER VI 

THE GEOLOGY OF LEE COUNTY 79 

CHAPTER VII 

LEE COUNTY IN THE CIVIL WAR 89 

CHAPTER VIII 

INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS IN LEE COUNTY 139 

CHAPTER IX 

THE FRENCH IN LEE COUNTY 145 

■i 



4 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER X 

THE NORWEGIANS IN LEE COUNTY 157 

CHAPTER XI 

THE BENCH AND THE BAR OF OLD LEE COITNTT 165 

CHAPTER XII 

THE LEE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES AND FAIRS 179 

CHAPTER XIII 

THE DIXON SCHOOLS 183 

CHAPTER XIV 

1/ EDUCATIONAL HISTORY OP LEE COUNTY SCHOOLS 197 

CHAPTER XV 

y HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SWAMP 221 

CHAPTER XVI 

JOHN DIXON 237 

CHAPTER XVII 

ALTO TOWNSHIP 261 

CHAPTER XVIII 

AMBOY 271 

CHAPTER XIX 

ASHTON TOWNSHIP 289 

CHAPTER XX 
liUAOFORn TOWNSHIP 299 



CONTENTS 5 

CHAPTER XXI 

CHINA TOWNSHIP 305 

CHAPTER XXII 
DIXON 331 

CHAPTER XXIII 

EAST GROVE TOWNSHIP 353 

CHAPTER XXIV 

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP 36] 

CHAPTER XXV 

HARMON TOWNSHIP 365 

CHAPTER XXVI 

LEE CENTER TOWNSHIP 369 

CHAPTER XXVII 

MARION TOWNSHIP 393 

CHAPTER XXVIII 

MAY TOWNSHIP 399 



i CHAPTER XXIX 

MELTJGIN's GROVE TOWNSHIP 405 



CHAPTER XXX 

NACHUSA TOWNSHIP 421 

CHAPTER XXXI 

NELSON TOWNSHIP 431 



6 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XXXTI 

PALMYRA TOWNSHIP 435 

CHAPTER XXXill 

EEYXOLDS TOWXSHII' 445 

CHAPTER XXXIV 

sorxH oixox TowxsHip 449 

CHAPTER XXXV 

SUBLETTE TOM'XSHIP 457 

CHAPTER XXXVI 

VIOLA TOWNSHIP 467 

CHAPTER XXXVII 

WILLOW CREEK TOWNSHIP 47] 

CHAPTER XXXVIII 

WYOMIXG TOWNSHIP 497 



'-ii'- 




I'liAXK i:. sii:\ Kxs 



History of Lee County, Illinois 



CHAPTER I 

THE INDIANS 

With the begiuuiiig uf civilization in Lee cuuut}', Ruck liver 
was the dividing line betvpeen the AVinnebagoes and the Pottawa- 
tomies, the former to the Avest of the river, the latter to the east, 
and southerly to the Illinois river. Down stream the Winnebagoes 
occupied the country as far as tlie prophet's village, now Prophets- 
town in Wliiteside county. 

Farther down the Sacs and Foxes occupied the country and 
their village, about two miles from the mouth, was the largest 
Indian village in Northern Illinois and one of the largest in the 
state. Of course these four tribes intermingled and intermarried 
in a measure and to that extent dwelt together in harmony. 

To state arbitrarily wliat Indians first occupied Lee county 
would subject the writer to ridicule. It will be my design therefore 
in looking backward after the earlier aliorigines to use the earliest 
written information: "Charlevoix,'' annotated by that eminent 
and accurate scholar, John Gilmary Shea ; "The Jesuit Relations," 
annotated by Reiiben Gold Thwaites; "Handbook of American 
Indians," by Frederick Webb Hodge; the "Wisc(msin Historical 
Collections"; "Schoolcraft," McKenney and Hall; Carver; 
Reports of Secretary of War; "The Indian Tribes of the Upper 
Mississippi Valley," hj Emma Helen Blair, and other works. 

The Illinois or Illinois Confederation of Algonquin tribes, occu- 
pied the Rock river country in 1722. This confederation was com- 
posed of the Cahokias, Kaskaskias. Michigameas, (spelled in many 
ways), Peorias, and Tamaroas. Hodge has added the Moingwena 
tribes. 

They were scattered over Northern Illinois, Southern Wis- 
consin and the Mississippi river, on its west bank as far as the 

7 



8 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

JJl\s Mcjines river, tlicuce iuto the Illiudi.s interior at least as far 
as the Illinois liwr and thence sonth and southwesterly into 
the ]iresent linnts of Jackson c(jnnt\'. The whites first came 
into actual contact with them (unless Nicollet visited them) at 
LaPointe (.Shaunawauniikony), where in 16iil Allouez met a party 
which Avas \isiting that jjoint for j^urposes of trade. In 1670 the 
same priest met a mun])er of them at the Maseoutin village on 
U2jper Fox ri\cr about nine miles from the present Portage City, 
Wis.; but at that time this l)and contemplated joining the Missis- 
sipiji river tribes. 

It seems to be true that these tribes were I'ovei's. When in 3673, 
the Marquette party passed down the .Mississippi river, Marquette 
fomul the Peoria and Moing-wena tribes on the west side, near the 
nioufh of the Des Moines. Two months later he found them on 
the Illinois river near the present city of Peoria. 

The I'eason perhaps for their many changes, was because they 
were harassed constantly by Sioux, Foxes and other northern 
ti'ibes and the ^lowei'ful Iroqu(jis from the East. The nuirder of 
Pontiac by a Kaslvaskia Indian provoked the Great Lakes tribes 
and thereafter with great rapidity, the Illini disappeared. 

At about the yeai- 1722 whoi the Foxes besieged detachments 
at Peoria, and "The Kock" (on the Illinois river) the Illini of 
Northern Illinois consolidated with their ))rethren along the Missis- 
sip])i, just as the Kaskaskias in 1700 had left their large village on 
the Illinois, near where Ftica stands now, to settle in Jackson 
county where they founded the \illage of Kaskaskia. Innnediately 
upon leaving the Rock river country, tlie Winnebagoes from Wis- 
ct)nsin, and the Pottawatomies from the East, took possession of it 
and they were occupying Lee county when John Dixon took up his 
residence at the ferry. 

John Dixon encountered no troidJe with the Indians. His 
patriarchal apjicarauee appealed to their eyes and his sturdy 
honesty and unselfish dealings with them ca]jtured their hearts. 
He trusted tliem implicitly and not a single Winnebago ever tried 
to cheat him. Owanico the best known to i-ule ovei' the Winne- 
bagoes of these ])arts, was especially fond of Father Dixon. 

•lust to indicate the paucity in numbers, of Northern Illinois 
Indians ]<•{ me boirow a IVw ligures from "Schoolcraft," who in 
tiiiiilnok Ihcm fidintlie War 1 )epai-tuu'nt. in 1S06, Lieut. Zebulou 
M. I'ikc cstiniatrd the lofal Sauks, 2,sr)0; the total Foxes. 1,750; the 
lotal Winnebagoes, LD.IO. in .lanuary, 1825, all the Indians in 
Indi.ina and I llinois were 1 l,57i). and of these the Sauks and Foxes 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 9 

in Illinois numbered (J,40U. J u the same year, the War Department 
reported 6,500 Pottawatomies in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois; 
"A considerable Ijand of them . . . reside in Illinois and 
another band upon the Eock river. In that same year the total of 
all the iSauks was reported 5,000 and of all the Foxes, 1,600 and of 
all the Winnebagoes 5,800 in Wisconsin and Illinois. At the same 
time Rock river was declared to be the eastern boundary of Winne- 
bago teri'itory. 

In 1836 the Sauks were reported to munber 1.800 ; the Foxes 
1,600 ; the Winnebagoes 1,500, while the Pottawatomies of Michi- 
gan and Illinois mnnbered but 1,500. No Winnebago villages in Lee 
county have been known to exist east of Rock river. Any other 
Indian villages which may have existed in Lee county were 
Pottawatomie villages, the most important of which was that of 
Shab-o-na, and which b}" the bye was located just over the line into 
DeKalb county — Shab-o-na, an Ottawa, the chief of that tribe, 
while a famous rover, seldom visited Dixon or other Rock river 
points. During the Black Hawk invasion he came here many times 
and his inestimable services during that period endeared Mm to 
every white person. He belonged properly to DeKalb cormty. 
Wherefore, aside from the Black Hawk trouble. Lee county had 
little to do with Indians. 

Besides the village in which Mack located, another \'illage 
was located in Wyoming towaiship called in the Prairie du Chien 
Treaty of 1829, "The As-sim-in-eh-kon, or Paw Paw grove." This 
village Avas located on the spot conveyed by the treaty to Pierre 
Leclerc, known to the Lee comity records as Leclere. 

Along the river near Dixon, many Indian families dwelt, but so 
far as can be found, they lived in clum}is of three or four fauiilies or 
tires and not as a village. These two villages are the only ones I 
have been able to locate in Lee count}' and I am reasonably con- 
fident there were no others. Both were Pottawatomie villages. 
Sha-bo-na"s may have laj^ped over into Lee county, Init from its 
location in DeKalb county, I do uot see how it could. 

It may be interesting to learn before leaving the Winnebagoes 
that their first title was the Ochangeas. The French nicknamed 
them Puants from the lialnt tliey had of drying fish in the fall, 
agaiust their tents, from which noisome smells arose ; thus, Puants, 
or Puans, or "Stinkers." 

In 1832 the second Black Hawk campaign, bronght to Lee 
county, all of the Indian forces and at Dixon's Ferry the white 
trooi IS ]-endezvoused and at Dixon 's Ferry Gen. Henry Atkinson, 



10 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

of the United States army maintained liis headquarters. After 
concentrating at the mouth of Rock ri\er, the militia was sworn 
into the United States service hy General Atkinson. This disposes 
of the old and much believed tradition that Lieut. Jefferson Da\ds 
swore the troops, including C'apt. Abraham Lincoln, into the 
service at Dixon's Ferry. I have in my possession the original 
letter written by Brig.-Maj. Nathaniel Buekmaster, the day after 
the event, in which he states that Atkinson swore them in at the 
mouth of Rock river. 

This Black Hawk was no chief; he was a brave and nothing 
more. Forsyth, the agent, took occasion to make this statement 
many times and if the reader will take the time to read the treaties 
with the Sacs (Sauks) he will notice that Black Hawk invariably 
signs with the braves, never with the chiefs, (jrov. John Reynolds, 
who had an intimate acquaintance with him takes the pains to 
explain that he was not a chief, sinqtly a leader of a few Indians, 
devoted to the British, who accepted Biitish pensions and annuities 
and who were styled the "British Band." He was a person of 
infinite daiing and ])rute courage, ])ut a man of no sort of capacity 
for military affairs. Led by a white man of genius and courage, 
Black Hawk was capable of executing small commissions, like the 
one under Captain Anderson at the ni(»uth of Rock river. But in 
larger affairs he either lacked a sense of honor (»r else tired easily 
and was Avhat is styled a "quitter," as for instance his escapade at 
the Battle of the Thames. AVith much |)omp and ceremony he 
enlisted with the British; marched t<) British headquarters in 
Wisconsin ; was dubbed "General Black Hawk" and was presented 
with a sword. AYith his l)aiid he iiuirchcd to the scene of action. 
When at the Battle of the Thames, he saw Tecumseh fall and 
learned that the Americans could fight, notwithstanding his many 
predictions to the contrai-y, he deliberately deserted and returned 
to his village back in Illinois. As an orator Black Hawk possessed 
undoubted ability. There was but one other Sac who could equal 
him iu eloquence and that was the matchless Keokuk and after 
Black Hawk had harangued the vast majority of his tribe into 
favoring his scheme of 1832, Keokuk it was who appeared on the 
scene and ai'giied the scheme into disfavor. Keokuk was the chief 
of Black Hawk's tribe, not Black Hawk, and instead of nauseating 
the pages of history by erecting at Oregon an heroic momunent to 
"Chief" Black Hawk, the autlKu- of the stupid project should have 
learned a little history aud directe(l his genius to the memory of 
"(Mid u|(l Slia-bo-iia. Ilie u'raiidest ol' all AYestcM'u Indians, or else to 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ii 

some other ludiau avIio had the right to overlook the Rock river 
country aroimd Oregon, hihiclc Hawk was a trespasser tlie moment 
he put liis foot into the country above the prophet's viUage in 
Whiteside county. Above that point it was Winnebago and Potta- 
watomie country and never Sac territory. The latter was contined 
in Illinois to a narrow strip along the bank of the Mississippi river. 

Black Hawk had signed many treaties, each one confirming a 
former one, until the first one of 1804, which was Black Plawk's 
first alleged cause for dispute with the whites, had been confirmed 
many times. This Indian would remain tranquil for a time, accept 
the bounty of the United States and of England at the same time, 
until his restless s]3irit demanded diversion, then the Treaty of 1804 
and its subsequent confirmations would be denounced and later a 
disturbance would follow. Forsyth, the Sac agent, wrote the War 
Department to this fact so far back as the early '20s and therein 
named Black Hawk, "who is not a chief," as the disturbing agent. 

In 1831 Black Hawk endeavored to cross over into Illinois f I'om 
his Iowa abode for purposes of war. Governor Reynolds sent a 
force of militia to act in conjimction with General Gaines in expell- 
ing him. By the time the militia had reached the mouth of Rock 
river. Black Hawk and his band, at the shoAv of such forces, 
returned to the lowa^ side without attempting a blow. At the 
request of General Gaines another treaty confirming the one of 
1804, obviating all of Black Hawk's objections and engaging to 
remain jjeaceful thereafter, was signed by Black Hawk and the 
whites had every reason to believe he would remain on the west 
side of the Mississippi. 

It has been urged that the Avhites aggravated him, ridiculed him, 
converted the lands of his tribe and so on. Black Hawk lacked the 
capacity of Keokuk to observe the gradual decrease in numbers of 
the Indians and the gradual advances of civilization which 
demanded lands the Indians were not actually using. Black Hawk 
lacked capacity. His morals were not of an order to insjjire a great 
following or father a great caiise. The whites may have quarreled 
with him, as with themselves. But it is noticeable that Black Hawk 
about this time, after agreeing to remain on his new lands in Iowa, 
seemed to delight in returinng to the Illinois side to have another 
quarrel and take perhaps some more aggravations, and even as has 
been claimed, a beating. 

In 1832 his restless spirit incited his last act of warfare. He 
got a few followers to agree to a raid. He came yevj close to 
success in his efforts to enlist a large following: but Keokuk, ever 



12 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

watchful for material adxantages for his people, by a speech of 
matchless eloqueuce, took from Black Hawk almost his last recruit. 
With the rag-tag, therefore, of the Rock river Sacs, Black 
Hawk recrossed tlie Mississi^ipi, under pretense to the whites of 
making com with his friends, the Winnebagoes, l)ut with the 
avowed purpose to his followers of annihilating the whites. His 
apologists insist he did not mean war because he took with him his 
women. The apology demonstrates his stujjidity. Keokuk in his 
speech won back the Sacs by drawdug a picture of the very conse- 
quences which befell Black Hawk. Keokuk insisted that war mth 
the great numbers of wdiites in the country meant annihilation. 
Black Haw'k could not see it and did not see it until he was taken 
in a grand tour all over the East. All too late Black Hawk saw 
and believed and ever after he lived a model life and whatever of 
commendation he secured, he derived it after that fruitful tour. 
Once more Goveruoi- Reynolds sent forward a large body of militia 
to meet the regular ti-oops at the mouth of Rock ri\er. There they 
were sworn into the service and immediately they marched up the 
river to Dixon's Ferry. At that point two l^attalions of mounted 
infantry under Majors Stilhnan and Bailey, numl^ering a])out two 
hundred and seventy-five men from the Illinois river country w^ere 
met, and John Dixon reported that Black Hawk and his following 
of something like six oi' eight liuiidicd had moved up the river 
to a point near Old Man's creek. Stilhnan demanded that he be 
permitted to ])ursue and annihilate the Indians. Governor Rey- 
nolds, who desired always tn make himself solid pnlitieally, against 
wdser counsel consented, and on the morning of May 13, 1832, 
tile Stillman and Bailey l)attalions joined by Colonel Strode 
and others desirous of sccui'ing fame, followed. A furious 
rainstorm compelled a lialt oA-er-night when but a few" miles out 
and the soldiers did not reach Old Man's creek until about dark of 
tile 1 nil. Tlicy had (lismiumtcd and wrvr jireparing sup])er when a 
jiarty n\' three, bearing a flag oT tnicc rnmi I)hi('k Hawk, ai)peared 
on a liill. Instead of i-es]>eeting it. a sijuad of soldiers mounted 
liastily, sliot the tiagliearei', took another of the party prisoner and 
lielhiiel!. liair the army t'ullnwed the tleeing third Indian. When 
lie and i'>lack llawk's live pirket'^ nv \-('dettes. sent to dbserve the 
i'cc('|iji(iii III' the Hag. i-nmc tumbling into Black Hawk's c.anqi. 
r.lai-k Ilawk liecanie enraged and turning with a mere liandful of 
rdilowers |ilnngi'd intu the uiK-cmiing whites, with the furv and 
noise of a lliiindcr storni. 'IMk' IVii;iitcnrd whites at onec^ turned 
in Her, rriulitciiing in tlicir lli^lit. all tlici^c wIim behind them, had 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY i:i 

been pursuers. By the time this tleeing mass of f righteued human- 
ity reached eamp on Old Man's creelv, fright liad become so con- 
tagious that most of the men liad become positiA'ely insane. A few 
only retained their composure. They remained and attempted to 
stop the stampede and stop tlie adA-anee of the Indians. These were 
Capt. John G. Adams of Tazewell county, David Kreeps, Zadock 
Mendinall and Isaac Perkins of his company; James Milton; 
Tyrus M. Childs, Joseph B. Farris, Bird W. Ellis, John Walters, 
Joseph Draper, and James Doty of other companies. On the side 
of the hill leading from the highland to the creek, these men stood 
their groiuul and were killed, most of them outright, two Imdly 
wounded who crawled, one Hve miles south of the scene and one 
two and a half miles soTith, where they died and were buried. 

All that night stragglers came tuml)ling into Dixon's Fen-y. 
Through the laAvlessness of the troops, l)ut one day's provisions 
remained ; the rest had been left behind after burning the lU'ophet's 
village so that a forced march might Ite made to Dixon. 

Governor Reynolds called his officei's to his tent and after a 
consultation, it was decided to call out additional forces. The 
troops had begun to murmur about neglected crops back home. 
Reynolds sent his messengers liack into the southern part of the 
state with his proclamation. Meantime on the 15th the army 
nuu'ched to the scene, Iniried the dead, camped over night and 
returned next day to Dixon's Ferry. 

By this time Gen. Henry Atkinson witli the regulars had 
reached Dixon's Ferry, and here he established his headquarters. 
It was ordered at once that the uiilitia under Reynolds and Gen. 
Samuel AVhiteside and the regulars under Iit.-< 'ol. Zachary Taylor 
proceed up-stream and overtake Black Hawk. That wiley Indian, 
however, had disposed his forces artfully. The women and old 
men he sent up into the Rock river swanips of Wisconsin, while he 
remained near to pounce upon detachments and harass the whites 
wherever he might. 

At a point over i]i DeKall) count}', the troops murmured so 
loudly for a discharge that a discluu'ge was ordered and marching 
to the mouth of the Fox river, they were mustered out. 

AVhile at Dixon, Aln-aham Lincoln was a captain of one of the 
militia com])anies. Lieut. Jefferson Davis was aid and adjutant to 
Taylor, Lieut. Robert Anderson, Lieut. Albert Sidney Johnston, 
Gen. Henry Dodge, Go]. William S. Hamilton. an<l uiany other 
nota])le men and soldiei-s were uuuibered iu that little frontier army 
at Di\'o]i. 



14 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Pending the fonnatiou of the new army, two companies from 
Fry's new battalion were ordered to nuircli from Ottawa to Galena 
to protect the frontier, then the scene of se\'eral murders. Oapt. 
Elijah lies was captain of one company and Abraham Lincoln was 
a i)rivate in it. The other company was connnauded by Capt. 
Adam A^^ 8nyder. They marched l)ack to Dixon's F'erry, lies' 
comi)any tirst. Tliis conii)any from Dixon's Ferry was piloted to 
Galena hy John Dixon. After i-esting a l)rief period it marched 
back without event to Dixon's Feri-y, thence onto Fort Wilbourn 
the new point (tf concentration, where it was mustered out. Captain 
Snyder's company was designated for the more perilous duty of 
establishing a base of supplies between Dixon's FY^rry and Galena. 
At Dixon's Ferry two companies of regulai's midcr Major Bennet 
Riley, were detailed to escort Snyder's company. After perform- 
ing his duty and encoimtering two engagements near Kellogg's 
grove, Snyder's company returned to Dixon's FY'rry and was mus- 
tered out. 

On June ISth, in order to make haste to cover the frontier 
between Dixon and ( ialena, still ravaged by the Indians who were 
nnirdering the whites, General Atkinson ordered Maj. John 
Dement forward with his battalion tirst to hunt for the murderers 
of Phillips in the Bureau woods, then to re})ort to Colonel Taylor 
at Dixon's Ferry. At the latter point Dement was ordered forward 
to maintain the roads to Galena which iNIajor Riley had opened. 

At Kellogg's grove. Major Dement fought the hrst Ijattle in 
which Black Llawk received a check. It was a furious fight in 
which the soldiers were disposed to act exactly as they did at Still- 
man's, and that too would have l)cen a rout had it not been for 
Major Dement "s personal bra\-er\-. lie inspired his men and after 
checking Black Hawk's advance, retired to the buildings impro- 
vised as a fort. From this ]ioint lilack ILnvk finding himself 
unal)le longer to cope with the heavy odds, retired to join his women 
and old men in the fastnesses of the Rock river swanijis near Lake 
Floricon. 

By this time General Atkinson had disposed his army into three 
divisions to move forward from Dixon's Fei'rv, one mider Alex- 
ander to move northwesterly to cut off a ])ossil)le retreat; another 
under Posey to join (ien. lleni-y Dodge at Fort Hamilton, a 
middle ground, and the otliei- under (ieii. .lames D. llenrv, up the 
east baid'C (d' Rock ri\'er. h'roin this inonieiit, Dixon's FerrA* had no 
[larl in the war in(Uc than to liecoine a resei-\'e point tor a small 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY i'. 

force and also the objective point of Gen. Wintiekl Scott, wlio witli 
Ms staff, which inclndecl Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, reached Dixon, 
switched his army down stream to Fort Armstrong and then with 
his staff moved on to Galena and then Fort Crawford. Black 
Hawk's cajDture, the treaties at F'ort Armstrong followed, and 
Dixon's F^erry, no longer the central point of the nation's attention, 
subsided into the quiet routine of a little far-awa_y fi'ontier post. 
During this period, John Dixon had been an active factor as guide 
and commissariat for the arni_v. He led it clear through to the 
affair at the Bad Axe and returned home to trade with the Indians 
and ferry passengers over the river. Years afterwards, Robert 
Anderson sent him messages recalling the exciting da3^s of 1832 
and years afterwards, Jeff'erson Davis, a powerful United States 
Senator, on the floor of the Senate appealed to the associations of 
those days and with John Dixon, to secure passage of a bill giving 
John Dixon relief in the nature of a land warrant for KiO acres of 
land. 

The close of the Black Hawk war sealed the doom of the Indians 
in Illinois. Without delay they were removed to distant reser- 
vations. 

The following year a Winnebago outbreak was feared, by Mr. 
Dixon and the few settlers of the coTmtry. Preparations were 
made to concentrate at Galena, but fortunately nothing came of it, 
and with the Indians of Northern Illinois, moved to their reserva- 
tions, a short while thei'eafter, the Indians ceased to be factors in 
Lee county. 

Until the year 1836, when they were finally paid off' in full, 
many bands of Indians loitered around Dixon, Inlet and Paw Paw ; 
but they all were very civil and when paid off, they left. 

It was my intention at first to begin with the Treaty of St. Louis, 
in 1804 and notice each one which affected Lee county, but aside 
from the two Prairie du Ghien Treaties of 1829, which disposed of 
the Lee county allotments, with the exception of the Ogee, Sha- 
bo-na and LeClere sections, they were of such minor importance as 
to carry no particular interest. The first of the two Prairie du 
Chien Treaties with the Chi]ipewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie 
tribes conveyed the lands south and oast of Rock river and was 
concluded July 29, 1829, l)y John McNeil, Pierre Menard and 
Caleb Atwater: the other with the Wiimebagoes, conveying all 
north and west of the river, was concluded Aug. 1, 3829, by the 
same commissioners. The Ogee and LeClere sections were in 
Wvoming township. 




LEK (di Niv i'|(im:i:i; 



PIONEERS OF LEE COUNTY 



In the grou}) uf piiniccrs of \jVv county arc the t'ollowini;- [lor- 
traits: Father Dixon, Rev. Pratt, V. V. Anch'rsou, James P. Dixon, 
.\lr. Atkins, Henry Decker, S. Kosenthal. Chai'les Ayei's. Di-. \V. 
AV. Wynn, Howard M. (iill)ert, John K. Dixon, Fletcher Huton, 
Timothy Sullivan, Antoine Julian, Edward Sterling-, Dwiyht Hea- 
ton, Major Williams, Colonel Todd, Diac ^loon. Oliver Wa.i^ner, 
N. Underwood, Hiram Mead, Charles Lawton, ^ii-. Lord, William 
Dnpny, William Purr, Air. Whitney, Nathaniel Whitne_y, James 
L. Camp, ^Ir. Pachman, Martin Detrick, H. Whitney. AV. E. AA^ei- 
bezahn. A. Thompson, J. C. Mead, Arthur Harms, James A. Haw- 
ley, AVilliam Fritz, T. P. Moeller, i\[i'. Penjamin, N. Hansen, 
Mathias Schick, James P. Charters, Mr. Earl, Prophet Myers, 
AVallace Judd, P. F. Shaw, C. P. Thummell, ( 'ol. H. T. Xol.le. Johu 
[.(.rd, Mont Flatt. C(«llins Pecker. Daniel AV. ^[(dxcuuey. William 
AV. Pethea, Austin Moi-se, Heiny K. Stroma', Col. Whitney, <iov. 
Charters, M. J. McVeigh, G. A. Dehmd, Rolx^-t Laiui;, Penjamin 
Kessler, Amos Hnssey, Elias Coni'tright, Ahner Cogswell, \\\\- 
liam Stevens, John Ellis, ^^. Ti. Powles, Deacon A^ann, J. C. Ayers. 
(1. H. Pratt, J. C. Oliver, Col. Dysart, Air. :\read. Judge Heatoii, 
Felix Robinson, Mr. Dnrkey, Deacon Ely, John Hess, Thomas 
Moi'gan, Lawrence A\'oo(l, L Prenier. Mi'. Pai'ks, Wairen Smith, 
Mr. Crawford, Cy AA'illiams, Isaac Aleaiis, J. ( '. I^cake, Isaac ( 'ourt- 
right, Silas Xoble, Mr. Peny. AA'illiam Andrus. lienjamin Pi'u- 
baker, AV. AVadsworth, M. JoriUin, Charles Hat<-h, Ileiiiy Prescott, 
Henry J. Scott, AP-. Coakley, Lewis Floto. Reuben Trowbi-idge, 
Sheriff Hills, Sanniel (loodrich. Dr. (loodman, (ieoi'ge 1^'oote. Har- 
vey Derrick. Rem. AA'arner, Peter Precnnier, John Page. John 
Cheney, ^h'. Adams, Cai)tain Anth^'son, Aln-. Pi'own, (ieorge L. 
Schuk'r. Di-. Everett, A. S. Dimick. John Lawrence. Alerritt Smith, 
Isaac Powman, Joseph ('rawford, Harvey ATorgan. Joseph Ftley, 
Judge AA'ood, Charles Peal, Col. Dement, David Hawley, P. Pran- 
don, AA". J. (^ai']ienter, Ceorge AA'illiams, V. ^fcKi'nney, ^fr. Klas- 
tei'man or Charles Pracket. AFichel l^lantz, Dan Decker, J. McCul- 
hmi. Dr. H. E. Paine, and Judse Eustace. 



CHAPTER II 

THE BEGINNING OF THINGS 

The first known white man to frequent these parts, was Pierre 
LaPorte, a Erenchman from Fort Frontenae, Ontario, who hunted, 
trapped and traded along Rock river from the Turtle village, now 
practically, Beloit, Wisconsin, to its mouth. 

With the exception of a few trips made to the Rocky Moun- 
tains, Pierre LaPorte covered this Rc^iek river territory from the 
year 1780 to the year 1810. 

He sold his furs usually, each springtime at the point now 
called St. Joseph, Michigan, and the jjoint now called Chicago, in 
Illinois. 

On a few occasions he trapped u})-streani along Rock, river, and 
at the end of such expeditions he sold his cargo of skins at Green 
Bay, now Wisconsin. At this point in the narrative, it may be 
interesting to learn that each person or member of a trading party 
was expected to can-y over the portages and along the trails, not 
less than eighty-seven pounds of baggage. 

This old Frenchman died at his home in Fort Frontenae, now 
Kingston, Ontario, about the year 1830. Of his descendants living 
in and aliout Dixon may l)e included Frank E. Stevens, the editor 
of this work, Mrs. William H. Edwards. States Attorney Harry 
Edwards, and the LaPortcs. the Herricks and the Nisl)ets of Paw 
Paw, this county. 

LaPorte was but one of the myriad Frenchmen who blazed the 
way for the civilization which followed so rapidly. Like most of 
the Frenchmen, this one found no trouble at all in dealing amicably 
with the Indians. They were hospitable, and honorable in their 
dealings and they were remarkably true to all their friendships. 
The Indians who occupied the Rock river coTuitry. principally 
Winnebagoes, were like Indians elsewhere, treated fairly and they 
ever were found to be firm in their attachments, civil in their con- 
duct and honorable in their Imsiness transactions. 

17 



18 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

LaSallier, spelled also LeSaller and LeSellier, a Frenchman, 
probaldy was the next person to invade the country, and beyond 
any doubt, he became the first settler of Lee county. 

During the Illinois trip of j\Iajor Long, in the year 1823, men- 
tioned later on, LeSallier, according to Keating, the secretary of 
the party, mast have settled on Rock river in the year 1793. He is 
said by some to have married a Pottawatomie woman, although 
Keating, who generally was accurate, said he married a Winne- 
bago woman. In Carr's book mentioned hereafter, this woman 
was called a Pottawatomie. 

Some authorities state that a daughter of this marriage was 
the woman who married Joseph Ogee, a half breed Frenchman. 
If that is true, then according to the Treaty of Prairie du Chien, 
she was a Pottawatonii(% l^ecause that treaty which could make no 
mistake, called Ogee's wife, ]\radeline, a Pottawatomie woman. 

Dr. Oliver Everett, who was considered accurate in his state- 
ments, and who was said to have investigated the question when 
it was close at hand, ])ronounced her the daughter of LaSallier. 
In a conversation with AAllliani I). Barge, August 13, 1886, he told 
Mr. Barge he knew the woman was LaSallier 's daughter. Such 
e\'idence is pretty strong. Nevertheless, I cannot conceal my very 
grave doubts. 

If LaSallier married a s(|iiaw, as he did. their offspring would 
be half breeds and Madeline would have been a half breed and 
natui-ally I Avould suppose the 1829 treaty of Prairie du Chien 
would lia\T' called liei' a half breed, because she was as much a white 
as she was a Pottawatomie Indian. In the neighborhood of the 
section of land which she was given in Wytmiing township, she was 
styled a Pottawatomie and she retired to Kansas at last with the 
Pottawatomie Indians. 

Just wlicii LaSallici' left the conntry it is im|)0ssible to state 
and almost impossilile to conjecture. ( iurdon S. Hubbard, the best 
authority on early Illinois settlements, made the statement that 
three or four trading ])osts on Poi-k river were operated in the 
interest of the Auiericau l''ur ('ouipany from 1813-11 to 1826-33. 
In 1835 t he ruins of L;iS;illier"s cahin wei-e discernible and part of 
the lous. in a I'uiued coiidiiidu. wei'c left and seen many times by 
the hite .loscph ('I'awford. our lirst county surveyor. The exact 
local iou and size of the huildings ni'e plaiidy in view todav. 

About the next early settler we easily can learn everything 
because he married here, lived in the state all his life and died an 
lioiioi-ed cit i/eu o\-ei' in the neighboring (Miuntv of Winneliago. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 19 

From the "History of Roektoii," by Edsoii I. Viwr, pages six 
to sixteen inclusive. I tiiid that Stephen Mack, soon after the War 
of 1812, came to Detroit, i^robably al:)()ut the year 1814, with the 
family. Ambitious for adventure and a life of activity for him- 
self, he joined a Government exijeditiou around the lakes to Grreen 
Bay. Green Bay Ix'ing the great fur market of the West, and fur 
trading tlie sole oceupati<:)n of the people, Mack resolved iqxm 
opening a trading point of his own. To this end he was directed 
to the Eock river country. On a })(_iny he started across the country, 
reaching in due time the point where -Tanesville now stands. 

Following the sti'eam downward, he paused at the Turtle vil- 
lage. The Indians there directed him to iJird's (Jrove. In seeking 
this spot, however, he took the wrong trail and passing it, contin- 
ued until he reached a Pottawatomie Aillage in what is now Lee 
county, at or near Gi'and Detonr. Here he remained two or three 
.years, traded for furs, carried his furs on the backs of Indian 
ponies to Chicago, and there he sold them, stocked up with mer- 
chandise, and then trudged back to the village. 

Mack was an honest trader; he did everything possible to win 
the good will of the Indians, but he failed. His marriage to Ho-no- 
ne-gah, the chief's daughter, failed to cement any strong friend- 
ships among the tril)e Ix'cause he refused to sell members firearms 
and liquor. 

His last trip to Chicago was made with three ponies. He had 
conducted a successful enterprise in trade and he started on his 
retm-n trip Avith more goods than on any previous occasion. 

The Indians had determined upon his destruction and this 
return trip had been selected as the time to do it. But in their e^dl 
calculations they had overlooked one very important person, his 
wife. This faithful woman had learned of the plot and at about 
the time she expected her husband wonld reach a certain point, 
she struck out from camj) and met him, and together they traveled 
to the Winnel^ago village in Bird's Grove. Thus terminated the 
residence of Stephen Mack. He passed the remainder of his life in 
Winnebago county with his faithful Indian wife. The story of 
his life is dramatically interesting, but it has no place in these ])ages 
after his departure from the borders of Lee county. 

The exact location of Mack's Pottawatomie village has l)een the 
subject of some debate, Init it is pretty generally conceded now to 
have been located in Lee county not far up-stream from the LaSal- 
lier cabin on what is now the Eugene Harrington farm on section 
19 in Nachusa township, 22 X., range 10. 



20 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Some have thought LaSallier moved into it about 1817 or 1818, 
wheu Mack moved out, but uo credit can l)e attached to that 
position. 

Around tliis ca))in tliere was a \cr\' large cemetery. Every oue 
of tlie many graves long since has been examined and the coutents 
returned. The writer found a small piece of human bone in a grave 
not six feet from the spot on which the cabin stood. The graves 
were very shallow. l)ut some of the explorers dug very deep into the 
ground in the hope perhaps that arti<'les of curiosity or value might 
be found. This cabin, from the appearance of the ground today, 
nuist have been a doul)le affair, one buih alougside the other, in size 
about eighteen feet square. 

LaSallier must have been a bird of passage. After the visit 
of Webb, we find him acting as guide for a ]iarty ti'aveling from 
Chicago to the lead mines at (Jalena. The route lay through 
DuPage, Kane, Ogle and Stephenson counties, and a full account 
of it may be found in "Narrative of an Expedition to the Source 
of St. Peter's Hixcr, etc., performed in the year 182o. under 
command (tf Stephen H. Long, IT. S. T. E." The Webb account is 
so full and so relial)le and so pertinent that a verbatim copy of it 
.should be inserted herein. It is to lie found in his book entitled 
"Altowan; <>]■, iiicideuts of Life and Adventure in the Rock}' 
Momitains."" volume 1, pages xiii-xxvii. 

"Ill the winter uf 1S21-22. 1 was statioiie(l at Clii<-ago. then 
about one huiidi-ed and lit'tx' miles in advauct' of the pioneer set- 
tlers. All west and north df us, with the exception of the old 
French settieiiieiits at (ireeii IJay and Prairie du ( Miien, was an 
untrodden wilderness, or truddeii mily by the lurds of the forest 
and the adventurous trapper and \'oyageiir. A short time previous, 
the fifth regiment of infantry, under the comiiiand of Colonel 
Snelliiig, had established itself on the r]>per Mississippi, at tlie 
Falls (d' St. Anthony. I^aily in h'ebruary, ^H'22, the ])rincipal chief 
of the Pottawatomies. one of the most friendly tribes west of Tjake 
Michigan, reported to the agent at mir post, that his tribe had 
reeei\-e(l an iiixitatioii froiii the Sioux Indians to unite Avitli them 
ill eiittiug .dT the garrison at St. Peter's, at the Falls of St. 
Anthony; and, as evidence of his tiiilh. produced the tobacco said 
to have been sent to them by the Sioiix. and which generally accom- 
panies such propositions for a war league. .\s no doubt was enter- 
tained i>\' 1 he 1 mill of this report, tlie coininanding oflicer directed 
me (the adjnlanl ) to make arrangements with some of the voya- 
ucnrs connected with the Indian trading house near the fort, to 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 21 

carry the iutelligeuee to Fort Armstrorig, situated on Rock Island 
in the Mississippi, near the mouth of Rock river, thence to be for- 
warded to Colonel Snelling. They however, refused all my offers, 
alleging that none of them had ever crossed the country in the win- 
ter season — it was imi^racticable, etc., etc. 

"The same Ioa'C of adA'enture and excitement which had induced 
me to exchange a station in this city for Detroit, and then from an 
artillery into an infantry regiment, added to a conviction that the 
lives of a whole regiment of officers and men. their wives and 
children, were in jeopardy, and that it was possible to avert the 
impending blow, induced me to volunteer to be the liearer of the 
intelligence to Fort Armstrong. 

"1 accordingly took my departure, accompanied by a sergeant, 
who was a good woodsman, and an Indian of my own age. The 
first two or three days were days of weariness to me, and of frolic 
and fun to the Indian ; because we necessarily traveled on foot, in 
consequence of the extreme severity of the weather, with oui" i)ro- 
visions on a pack horse to break the snow, and make a trail in 
which to walk. The actual suft'ering consisted in riding our regu- 
lar tour; but I, being 'all unused' to travel through the snow on 
foot for liour after hour consecutively, was Aveary and worn out 
when we came to bivouac at night; while the Indian, was appar- 
ently, as fresh as when Ave stai'ted, and cracked his jokes withoiit 
mercy upon fagged (Jhe-mo-ca-mun, or 'L(mg Knife,' as they 
denominated all whites. I found hr»wever — as I had been told by 
tho.se who were learned in such matters — that the endurance of the 
Indian, bears no comparison with that of the white man. He will 
start off on a 'dog-trot,' and accomplish his eighty or a hundred 
miles in an incredible short space of time; but when he comes to 
day after day of regular Avork and endurance, he soon liegins to 
fag. and finally becomes avoi'u out; wliilc each succeeding day only 
inures the Avhite man to his Avork. trains him for further exertion, 
and the better fits him for the folloAving day's labors. Thus it Avas 
with the Indian and myself; and on the evening of the fourth day, 
I came to camp fresh as Avhen aa'C started, aaIuIc the Indian came 
in, AA'eary and fatigued; and of course, it AA'as then my turn to 
boast of the endurance of the Che-mo-ca-nnm. and the effeminacy 
of the ' Xiche-naAvby. ' 

"My instructions were, to employ the PottaAvatomie as a guide 
to Rock river. AA'here the country of the AVinnebagoes conunenced, 
and then take a Winnebago as a guide to Fort Armstrong — the 
leading object lx4ng so to arrange our line of travel a-^ to avoid the 



22 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

prairies, upon which, we would uecessarily suffer from the cold. 
1 had Ik'cu ajiprised that I would tind au old Canadian voyageur 
residing with his Indian fannly in a trading hut on Eock river, 
and it was to him my Pottawatomie was to guide me. 

"Toward eA-eningon the lifth day, we reached our jDlace of desti- 
nation ; and old I^aSaller, recognizing us as whites, and of course 
from the fort, intimated by signs, as he conducted us to the loft of 
his hut, that we were to preserve a profound silence. All who live 
in the Indian coimtry learn to obey signs ; and it is wonderful how 
soon we almost forget to ask questions. I knew that something 
was wrong, but it never entered my head to inquire what it was — ■ 
Indian-like, qiute willing to liide my time, even if the linger closely 
pressed upon the li^js of the old man had not apprised me that I 
should get no answer until it suited his discretion to make a com- 
munication. 

"It was nearly dark when we were consigTied to the loft of the 
good old man ; and for three long hours we saw him not. During 
this period there was abundant time for meditation upon our posi- 
tion ; when all at once tlie profound stillness which reigned in and 
about the hut, was broken by the startling sound of a Winnebago 
war dance in oui' immediate viciuit.y! This, you may imagine, was 
no very agreeable sound for my sergeant or myself, but it was 
perfectly liorrif.ying to my Pottawatomie; all of which tribe, as 
also their neighboi's, were as nuich in awe of a Winnebago, as is a 
flying-tish of a dolphin. But all suspense has its end ; and at length 
the war-dance ceased — the music of which, at times, could only be 
likened to shrieks of the damned, and then, again, partook of the 
character of the recitative in an Italian o]»cra, until, at length, it 
died away, and all was silence. 

"Then came old LaSaller. whose head, whitened by the snows of 
eighty winters, as it showed itself through the tra^i in the floor, 
was a far more acceptable sight than T could have anticipated it 
wouhl l)e Avhen I left the fort. Having Ix'cn informed who we 
were, and my desire to ]u-ocure a Winiiel)ago to guide me to Fort 
vXrmsti'ong, he inquired Avhether we had not heai'd the war-dance, 
and if we coidd not conjecture its object! He then proceeded to 
state that two Wiiinel)agocs, who had been tried and sentenced to 
!)(• executed for the nnirder of a soldier at Fort Armstrong, had 
escaped from the jail ai Kaskaskia, and arrived on the river a few 
days pi-c\ioiis: tliat in consequence, the whole nation was in a state 
of e\i laoi-dinary excitement, and that the war-dance to which we 
had listened, was preparatory to the starting of a war-partv for 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 23 

Fort Arinstroug to attack it, or destroy such of the garrison as 
they coiilcl meet with beyond its palisades; and that of course, our 
only safety was in making an early start homeward. L inquired 
whether I could not avoid the Indians by crossing the Cireat Pra- 
rie, and thus strilciug the Mississippi abo^-e the fort. EEe answered 
that by such a route I woidd certainly avoid the Indians until I 
reached the vicinity of the Mississippi ; but that we would as cer- 
tainly perish with the cold, as there was no wood to furnisii a hre 
at night. The mercury in the thermometer, as I well knew, had 
stood at five degrees below zero when I left the garris(m, and it 
had certainly been growing colder each day ; and therefore I appar- 
ently acquiesced in his advice, and requested to be called some three 
hours before daylight, which would give us a fair start of any pur- 
suing part.y — and bade him good-night. 

"But the old man doubted my intention t(» return to the fort, 
and shortly after, paid us another visit, accompanied l)y a very old 
Winnebago, who avowed himself the firm friend of the whites, and 
proceeded to point out the foll,v of any attempt to proceed in my 
expedition. He inquired its piu'port; and when I told him that it 
was to visit a dying friend, he said I had Ijetter postpone the meet- 
ing until after death, when we would doul)tless meet in the paradise 
of the white man ! But at the same time gave me to understand that 
he did not believe such was the object of my visit to the banks of the 
Mississii^pi. Indian-like, he sought not to pry farther into my 
affairs, but expressed his respect for all who knew how to keep 
to themselves their own counsels and the counsels of their govern- 
ment. His remarks were kind, and in the nature of approbation 
for the past and advice for the future; and coming from such a 
source, made a lasting impression. 

"Again we were left to ourselves; and then, doubtless, I wished 
myself safe in garrison. But to I'eturn, and that too from fear, 
and the object of my journey unaccomplished, was inevital^le dis- 
grace. But what was still more important, was the consequence 
to others of my return. I could not 1iut think there was an under- 
standing between the AYinnel)agoes and the Sioux ; and if there had 
lingered on my mind a doulit of the story of the Pottawatomie 
chief, that douTit was now at an end ; and of course, a sense of duty 
to a whole regiment of officers and men, their wives and children, 
was as imperative in requiring my advance, as was the fear of dis- 
grace in forbidding my return. With two such motives for a right 
decision, there could be no doiibt as to my course. It required more 



24 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

courage tu retreat thau to ad\ance; and I determined upon the 
latter. 

"Some hours before the dawn ot day, we started, apparently 
for garrison ; but once out of sight of old LaSaller, we knocked the 
shoes off our horses to avoid being traced by them in crossing the 
river, threw away our caps, tore up a blanket to make the hood 
worn by Indians in extreme cold weather, and took a course b}^ the 
stars directly west. I should have mentioned, that my Indian now 
having become valueless, I urged his return to his own tribe. But 
neither persuasion nor threats, could induce him to go. In every 
bush he imagined he saw a Winnebago, and he dared not return 
alone. 1 then urged what was quite apparent would be the fact — 
that he could not sustain the forced march to which we were 
destined, and upon which our safety depended. But it was all 
in vain ; and I was compelled to take him Avith us. 

"And now% after tliis long introduction, I come to the point of 
my story. The second day after leaving Rock river was the coldest 
I ever experienced. The ground was covered with about eight 
inches of snow; and no one wdio has not experienced it, can well 
imagine with wdiat piercing effect the wind passes over those bound- 
less fields of snow, unbroken by a single tree. On that day, at Foil 
Armstrong, sixty miles south of uie and sheltered b}' woods, I after- 
ward ascertained that the mercury never rose above fourteen 
degrees above zero! How cold it was where we were, it is impos- 
sible to eonjectui'c; l>nt I know that when my Indian failed in 
strength, and absolutely refused to take liis turn in riding the horse 
to lireak a ti'ail through the snow, 1 rode his tour of ten minutes 
in atUUtion to my own; and when I got down, discovered that my 
feet, face, hands, and knees, were frozen. 

"To encamp wdthout wood was an impossibility. The country 
is a high, rolling ])rairie; and from a naked hill, about five o'clock 
in the afternoon, I discovered an island of woods lying soutlnvest 
of us some ten miles." 

The continuation of the naiTati\c makes no further reference to 
fjce county, so is abandoned with the statement that Lieutenant 
Webb reached Fort Armstrong and a detail notified Colonel Snell- 
ing of ini|iending danger in time to avert it. 

l-'roni tile ■' Nai-i'at i\ e of an isxpedition to the Source of St. 
I'eter's lii\-er { etc. ), ( 'oni|Mic(l froni 1 he Notes of Maj. S. H. I^oug 
and Messrs. Sa\'. Keating' and ("olhoiin." i>y William If. Keating, 
considerable lighi is thrown on LaSnIlier. in a vei'\- few woids. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 25 

On Juue 11, 1823 (\'ul. 1, p. 175), wlicii the expedition at 
Chicago had decided to select the route to Galena, rather thau Fort 
Armstrong, no person could be found to guide it along that route 
until "an old French engage, of the name LeSellier," undertook to 
direct it. ''This man."' says Keating, "who had lived for upwards 
of thirty years with the Indians, had taken a wife among the Win- 
nebagoes, and settled on the headwaters of Rock river ;' knowing 
the country as far as that stream, he presumed that he could find 
his way thence to Fort Crawford." 

This remark tallies to a nicety with AYebb's and adds tlie 
important information that for upwards of thirty years he had 
lived with the Indians. The added information about his having 
settled on the headwaters of the Rock river, easily enough might 
have been a mistake in the writer's Ivuowledge of geography. Had 
LaSallier l)een as early a settler as that in Wisconsin, — at the 
headwaters of the Rock river, his name would be found in the Wis- 
consin historical collections. But it is not; wherefore we are 
driven to the conclusion that the man had lived where Wel)l) fomul 
him, since about the year 1793. 

He could not have remained long after Webb's visit, liecause, 
when in 1830, John Dixon took u]» liis residence at the ferry, there 
was no LaSallier and in 1835, when Joseph Crawford surveyed in 
the neighborhood, the cabin had rotted into a mass of sticks and 
dirt. It is difficult to imagine how in so short a space, a solid log 
cabin could push itself into a state of complete decay unless it had 
burned, and inasnmch as the stones now on the mound wear the 
api^earance of having l^een subjected to fire, the calkin must liave 
burned or else the stones were part of a fireplace. LaSallier guided 
the party safely until the Pektannons ( Pecafonica ) had l)een 
reached a few miles above its moutli. Here LaSallier informed the 
party that the Sauks pronounced the diminutive of a word by add- 
ing a hissing sound, — IjaRalliei- nuist have l)een a man of some 
information! At this point too it became evident that he had 
reached the limit of his knowledge of the country. Accordingly 
he was sent ahead to secure an Indian to act as guide for the rest 
of the tri|) to Pi-aiiie du Chien. The elder In-other of the chief 
of the village to which LaSallier went, a Sauk, so-called, was 
secured. LaSallier had explained his mission and with one accord 
the Indians, mostly Winnebagoes, greeted the part}' with mani- 
festations of friendship. The new^ guide's name was Wanebea. 

On page 194 LaSallier is ci-edited with translating certain 
words uttered by a Winneliago, into the Sauk; then into French; 

V„| I 'J 

SAUK VALLEY COLLEGE 
LR.C. 



26 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

then into English in order to test the accuracy of some of the 
vocabidary Major Long had written during a former trijD. La- 
Sallier did tliis work with surprising accuracy. 

During the trip to Prairie du Chien, LaSallier also communi- 
cated much information about the Sauks, useful to any student of 
ethnolog}^ (p. 223.) LaSallier, too, had a singular regard for the 
decencies 'of convei'sation, because when listening to and interpret- 
ing some of the things concerning squaws, which were detailed in 
a revolting manner, the old fellow blushed; "which, with a Can- 
adian trader, might be supposed not to be an easy thing." Thus it 
will be seen by this parting allusion to LaSallier that at Grand 
Detour he was a Canadian trader. At Prairie du Chien in the 
summer of 1823, is the last view, written history gives us of this 
old first settler, whose parting information was to interpret Wane- 
bea 's discourse on the soul and the spirit. 




'I'liK cK.WD niridi i; ii:i;i;v 



CHAPTER III 



OLD TRAILS 



In the spring of the year 1825, Oliver AV. Kellogg desiring to 
travel to the lead mines, located in Nortliwesteni Illinois and 
Southwestern Wisconsin, started from Peoria in liis wagon for 
that piuriDose. He crossed Rock river east of Dixon abont three 
miles and passed through the prairie Ijang between Polo and 
Mount Morris, touching the western part of West Grove and con- 
tinuing northerly and northwesterly to Galena. Prior to this time, 
the people of Peoiia had very much desired a shorter cut to the 
mines than that afforded by the Mississippi if pursued along its 
banks by land, and few cared to take the tedious route by keel boat 
up that river. But prior t(j the breaking of a trail by Mr. Kellogg, 
no one cared to brave the hardships of the trip and the perils from 
the Indians. So soon however as Mr. Kellogg had blazed this trail 
many others during the sunmier followed it, some with teams, more 
on foot, and all camping out. From its maker, the ti'ail was named 
Kellogg 's Trail. 

By reference to the map it will be noticed that Kellogg's trail 
was still too circuitous for the desired short cut, bearing too far 
east, and the travelers having olttained a taste for a short route to 
the mines, demanded a still shorter one to take oft' the curves from 
Kellogg's. Accordingly John Boles, traveling across the country 
in the spring of 1826, left the beaten track of Kellogg, some 
distance south of Rock river, crossed that stream where Dixon now 
stands, just a little above the spot where stauds the present Illinois 
Central bridge, passed up through the country about a mile east of 
Polo; north to White Oak Grove, half a mile west of Forreston, 
thence through Crane's Grove and so on to Galena. This route 
being much preferable to the old Kellogg's trail, it became inune- 
diately the pojoularly traveled route and was named Boles' trail. 

27 



28 HISl^ORY OF LEE COUNTY 

This trail was used exdusixcly tui- three yeai'S following and a few 
years agd traces left of it niinht he seen then east of Polo on the 
prairie, and to this \ery minute, worn down int(_i the ground across 
Mr. Edward H. Brewster's estate of Hazelwood just outside of 
J)ix(in. tlie old trail is discernihh'. 

During the season of 182(j, travel over this Boles" route was 
ahout double that of the preceding summer and autuum, demon- 
strating the American mania for short cuts even so far back as the 
year 1(S2(), when ox teams were the \-ogue. Travel commenced again 
eai'ly in the year 1827. In th(^ month of March, 1827, Elisha Doty, 
later a citizen of Polo, went to Dixon from Peoria. The rivei' was 
still frozen. He attoupted to cross the river on the ice; but before 
proceeding ^'ery far, the ice l)egan to gi^e way and he was obliged 
to gi\c u]» the attem])t and i-etui'u to the south bank. He made the 
statement later to the editor of l>i-oss's liistory, that while waiting 
on the south banlv of the ri\-er. Just l)efore starting on his return, 
about two hundred teams liad collected there, all boiuid for Galena. 

Mr. Doty li\ed in Polo suhsc(|ii('iitly for many years. When 
catechised upon the }toint he gave us facts never incorporated 
Ix'fore in a history of Lee county because they were unknown to 
the historians, and he attached to them the accuracy which history 
demnuds. Thus early in the history of the state, Dixon became a 
jjlace of prime impoi-tance. 

The " Lewistown trail," oi»ene<l a little later than Kellogg's 
trail, passed Rock river a little al»ove Proiihetstown in Whiteside 
comity, but this was little used, the Dixon r(»ute being preferable. 

T. 0. Ankeny, son of John Ankeny who was one of the tirst 
settlers of Buffalo (ii'o\-e ( Polo), wrote a sketch of his father, John 
Ankeny in 188:1, for the Ogle County Press, iu which he says, "in 
1829, by act of the legislature, he, John Ankeny, with John 
AIcDoiiald and auothei' uiaii, was n|»iioiiite<l to view and lay out a 
state road fi'oni Apple River to Osier's Ferry on Rock I'iver, now 
city of Dix(»u. December 2r)th of that year, he, with the other 
couniiissioners and surveying party, in pursuance of their mission, 
camped in a gi'o\'e by a creek which for the \ast (juantity of buft'alo 
bones co\-ering acres of ground, about the head of the creek east of 
the grox'e. they gave the name of •|?nffalo' to the grove and the 
stream." 

.\s tile session laws foi- a cdiisiderable period to 1S29 are silent 
upon tlie point, it is more than likely that Mr. Ankenv is mistaken 
ami that his I'athei- receixcd his anthoritx' from the commissioners 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 2i» 

of Jo Daviess couuty, or Peoria coiiut}'. As a matter of fact, tiiose 
viewers were appointed by the county commissioners and tlirough 
the very great kindness of Mr. J. ( '. Scott of Galena, I am abk; to 
repi'dduce their report; also some other \alnable information con- 
tained in ^\lr. Scott's letter. 

Galena, Illinois, Sept. L!7. 1913. 

Mr. Frank E. Stevens, Dixon, Illinois. 

Dear Sir : Y^onr letter to comity clei'k inquiring the names of 
the vicAvers who located a road from Hock river to Galena in 1829 
was referred to me. Herewith is enclosed copy of their report as 
appears of record. 

The C-omity Connnissioners Court of Jo Daviess County, 111., on 
March 8. 1829, appointed John Brookie, I^evi Warner and Ah'in 
Humplney Viewers to locate a road from Bowman & Co.'s ^Nlill on 
Biift'alo creek to Knox's mill on Elkhorn creek. Levi Warner 
signs as "Dept. ('ty. Surv." In this survey Timothy Widitield, 
Zalmon Livermore and George R. Webster acted as ehainmen. 

January 7, 3833, the General Assendtly of the State of Illinois 
passed an "Act providing for the location of a road from Chicago 
to Galena." doseph Naper acted as ( 'onnnissioner and G. W. Snow 
as surveyor. The survey was connnenced May 30, 1833, at the 
northeast corner of Lake and West Water streets. 

In the notes is the following : 

"X. 20' 00' AV. Across Rock i-iver at l)ix(.n's F\^rry 102 miles 
15 chains, 58 1-3 links." 

Following the siii'\('yors* notes tlie following rej^ort is made: 

•'Galena — 

Fh'om ( 'hica^o to I )ixon's F'erry the Iioiif generally a high & drv 
prairie and no expense of consequence will be necessary to open a 
road with the exception of the streams. 

"There is passable fords to all of them. 

"From Dixon's to Galena the general line of the present road 
has been foll(»wed — very hilly but a tolerable good road $500 will 
probably be suificient for a good road the whole distance." 

This road is sometimes called the ( Jalena & Chicago I'oad and 
othei' times the Galena & Peoria road. 

Trusting what is sent you will prove satisfactory I am, 

Respeetfidly yours, 

J. C. Scott. 



30 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

REPORT : VIEWT:RS OF THE ROAD FROM THE WOODBINE SPRING TO O'GEE'S 

To the Huuorable the Couuty Comuiissiouers Court of Jo Daviess 

Coimty, State uf lUiuois : 

AVe, the uuder'sigued subscribers beiug duly appointed b}^ said 
Court at their November term to view and lay out a road from the 
Woodbine Springs to Joseph O 'Gee's Eerry on Rock river beg 
leave to report : That we conmienced at the place and proceeded 
to the latter, following the Lewistown road about live miles there 
took across south 50 degrees east for O'Gee ferr\'. Then finding 
ourselves about to strike one mile above said ferry, on our return- 
ing examined the country to Buffalo creek about ten miles where 
touching our line from thence to Elk creek at a lone tree about five 
nnles, thence to Middle creek three miles, thence to Straddle creek 
four miles, thence to Crains Grove three miles, thence to East 
Plum river four miles, thence to West Plum river four miles, 
thence to the Lewistown road two miles, thence along said road to 
the Ijeginniug five miles. 

We find the ground excellent and find fords on the different 
streams and at this time the V. S. Mail is running it, and we deem 
it essential to luu'c the road confirmed and supervisors appointed 
to o]ien and work the same, as wide as the balance of the road from 
Woodbine Springs to (lalena. 

And the imdersigned subscribers beg leave to further suggest 
that three districts should be made. 

1st. Conmiencing at the ferry on Fever liver to extend to the 
west bank of Ai)ple river. 

2nd. Beginning on the east bank of said Apple river and extend 
to the west liank of Plum river. 

3rd. Beginiung on the east bank of Plum river to extend to 
Rock river and include .T. O'Gees residence and such hands as may 
be living with him subject to labor on highways. 

We w<»uld moreover state that we em])loyed Colonel Flack as 
surveyor and A. LTamlin as axman under a full conviction that your 
TTonnrable Body will compensate them for their ser^'ices. 

Chas. D. St. Vkain, 
John McDonald, 
John Ankeny. 

Api-lc River. Mnrch L ISm 

It will be ])(M'('ei\c(l in tliis iian-ati\'(' that lie speaks of Ogee's 
fciM-y as ()si('i''s fci'fv. lie is iicarei' right than is the pronuncia- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 31 

tion, Ogee's ferry. While Ogee spelled his name as giveu here, it 
was pronounced Ozya. Osier, reduced to the French mode of pro- 
nunciation would exclude the terminating consonant and give us 
the pronunciation — Oz-ya, with the tirst or long sound of O. 

The name Ogee would not be called a French name exactly. 
The old French engages were not particular about their ortho- 
graphy, and if by calling and wiiting a name Ogee I'ather than 
Osier, Ogee would be easiei-, we may rest assured Ogee would be 
used. 

Both Father John Uixon and Miss Louise Dixon while living 
told the writer that Ogee pronoimced liis name Oz-ya or with the 
French inflection, Oz-yiah, emphasis on the first syllable. 

While discussing the point 1 may as well introduce at this j^oint 
a letter from the late Dr. Reuben G. Thwaites which sheds a great 
deal of light on the subject of Ogee's origin and his name : 

Sept. 15, 1913. 
Mr. Frank E. Stevens, Dixon, Illinois. 

Dear Sir : In response to yours of the Ith : 

The records of the wandering French Canadian traders are 
very hard to trace ; illiterate themselves, almost nothing is knowTi 
or written al^out them. You doubtless know Mrs. Kinzie's refer- 
ence in Waubun to Joseph Ogee. The name was doubtless Auge, a 
common French-Canadian family name. Tanguay's "Dictionaire 
Genealogique ' ' gives a Joseph Auge, who married Aug. 15, 1820, a 
Sioux woman. There was likewise a Joseph Auge -with the North- 
west Fur Company in 1799 on Red River of the North. This may 
possibly have been the same as our Illinois Joseph, for after the 
amalgamation of the Northwest Fur Company with the Hudson's 
Bay in 1821, many of the employes were thrown out of employ- 
ment and drifted about. Many sought Prairie du Chieu, and 
started out from thence south and southeast. Joseph Auge was 
probably a half-breed son of the Mackinac merchant Michel Auge 
who was an important character there during the British regime. 
One Etienne Auge was in 1714 lessee of the post of Green Bay and 
was murdered by a jNIenominee Indian. 

Yours very truly, 
R. G. Thwaites, Superintendent. 

In the month of May, 1833, when Dixon's ferry had reached a 
considerable dignity. Le^'i Warner and two other men, were 
appointed by the commissioners of Jo Daviess county "to view and 



32 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

adiiieasure and lay out a road l)onveen Gak'ua and Peoria," which 
they did. and Mr. \Varuer certified the distance to be 145 miles 
and 2(i and -''ioo chains. The route ran through Dixou's ferry and 
on through to O. W. Kellogg "s ])lace in Buffalo Grove and on to 
Elkhorn creek to Isaac Chambers' hotel at Chambers" grove. He 
reached his old friend Chambers' house on May 31st. On June 1st 
he continued on his way and remained over Simday, June 2nd, at 
Thomas Crain's, then known as Grain's Fort. At the home of 
John I). Winters, near Elizabeth, this sturdy bachelor met his 
future wife, a comely widow. ]\lartha Winter.s, formerly Martha 
Bailey of Cincinnati, lie completed his survey to Galena, June 6, 
1(S:):!. His field notes show it was eleven miles from Peoria to 
station 29, an open prairie known as LaSalle. Station 37 at 
Meredith's house was nineteen miles from Peoria. The north line 
of Peoria county was twenty-one miles, which he reached Ma\' 23d. 
and he makes the note, "good selection for a road thus far." 

Continuing north ten degrees, west sixty chains, he came to a 
large iti'aiiie extending to Rock liver. 

Thirty-two miles from l^eoria he came to the south branch of 
Crow creek rumhng from west to east, to bridge which would 
require a length of fifty links and a cost for construction, $12. 

Station 4-") ; fiom Foit ( Marl<; as Peoi'ia was called in its infancy, 
to Boyd's Grove was thirty-six nhles in a general course north, 
eight degrees west. Station 53 was north fifty-nine degrees east, 
1,250 chains, to Bureau creek to cross which would require a bridge 
150 links long and a cost tn liuihl it of $100. Between stations 57 
and 58, he I'an close to a jNlr. Shirley's and a grove. For the six 
miles before reaching tliat ])oint the ground was a level prairie. He 
arrived at that ])oint on Sunday, May 2r)th, and it was between 
fifty-four and lifty-li\c miles fi'oui I*eoria. The general course 
fi'om here to dose])h Sniitli's house ( Dad Join's place), was mostly 
iioi'th se\-enteen degrees east. Sniitli's house was situated in the 
point of a small grove of tinibei- on a \-ery high elevation of ground. 
The i-oad ran about one chain east of Snuth's house. From ]\[r. 
Shirley 's to Sniitirs ])oi lit the ground was good for a road. Smith's 
was sixty-three miles I'roni l'eori;i ;uid was in .lo Daviess coiinty, 
about three miles north of the then county line. — so savs Mr. 
Sniit li's soli. 'I'he course to I nlet t iiiiber. iKuth, eleven degrees, east 
to Inlet creek, sixty-nine miles from Peoria. The cost of a bridge 
across this creek, he estimated to be $150. 

At this ])oiiit it may l)e ser\iceabl(> to note that while the water 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 33 

course was called Inlet then, it should not be confounded with the 
commonly accepted Inlet creek of today. 

From a high point between stations 61 and 62, as noted by 
Mr. Warner, there was a high l)luft' from which point the grove 
at the ferry on Rock river and the grove at Mr. k^mith's were both 
in open view at the same time. "From which point, I should tliink 
a straight road, or nearly so, might be located on good ground." 
From thence to Galena, the beai'ings were something like or near 
north, ten degrees west. 

From Peoria to Rock river at Dixon's fei'r.y, it measured eighty 
miles and 56.50 chains. Mr. >Varner reached Dixon's ferry May 
29, 1833. Across Rock rivei- from l>ank to l)ank, the distance was 
9.90 chains. "Rock river is a beautiful stream; rocky bottom and 
healthy water," Mi'. Warner wrote at the time. 

^Varner's course from Rock river to Kellogg's place at Buffalo 
grove, was north and ali<tut twenty-eight to forty degrees west. 
From Peoria to Kellogg's place he made the distance ninety-one 
miles and tifty-five chains (Kellogg's Avas on the south bank of 
Buffalo creek). 

Mr. Warner estimated that the bridge needed f(U' Buffalo creek 
would have to be one chain in length and the cost woidd be $25 ; the 
width of the stream was tAveuty-tive links. He reached that 
point Thursday, May 30, 1833. 

The genei'al direction from Kellogg's to Chambers' was north, 
thirty-four degrees to sixty degrees, west. From Peoria the 
distance was ninety-eight miles. He was at Chambers' Friday, 
May 31st. On Simday. June 2d. he had reached a point opposite 
and about fifty links east of Thomas Crain's, 108 miles, 55 chains 
from Peoria. From Crain's to east fork of Plum river, the course 
varied from noi'th, sixty-two degrees Avest to north, thirty-one 
degrees Avest. The cost to bridge the sti'eam was set at $50. The 
length of the bridge would need to 1)e one chain; the bridge 112 or 
113 miles from Peoria. The course fi-om Plum river to middle 
fork of Plum river AA^as first, north, eight degrees west, and later 
south by seA-enty-scA-en degrees west, then north scA'cntv-two 
degrees Avest. The bi'idge at this point woidd cost about $5, and it 
Avas l)etwcen 117 and 118 miles from Peoria. The road reached the 
main stream of Plum riA'er about 119 miles from Peoria, to bridge 
Avhich. 100 links, $50 Avas needed. This point Avas reached 
Jime 3d. The route to Flack's was generally north by forty to 
scA'cnty degi'ces. Flack's was 126 miles and fifteen chains from the 
place of ])eginning. From there the road to Apple riA'er ran a 



34 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

northwesterly course, varyiug from north twenty-six degrees 
west to north eighty-eight degrees west. Of the river, Warner 
says, "course from east to west, beautiful current of water about 
1.75 chains wide; good fording." 

On Tuesday, June 4th, he was at Winters' place, about twenty- 
tive links east of John D. Winters' house, and 132 miles and twenty- 
three chains from Peoria. From Winters' to Morrison's door in 
Galena, it was about thirteen miles, general direction north by 
eighty-seven to eighty-two degrees west. 

Mr. Warner reached Galena, June 6th, making the distance 
145 miles and 26.25 chains. 

For the above very valuable information, I am indebted to 
Mr. J. W. Clinton, of Polo. 

John D. Winters was a stage driver or mail carrier on this route 
for a considera])le period. Isaac Rucker, who died but recently, 
also drove stage on this route from 1834 to 1837 on the Winters' 
line of stages, and very fortunately for us, Mr. Clinton secured 
from him the names of his stops, which were as follows : Dixon to 
Buffalo Grove, twelve miles; Buffalo Grove to Cherry Grove, 
eighteen miles; Cherry Grove to AVest Plum river, which was 
Kellogg 's old place in Stephenson county, twelve miles; from West 
Phun river to Apple i'i\'er, twelve miles, and from Apple river to 
Galena, fifteen miles. 

F'rom Dixon south to Dad Joe's Grove, the distance was twenty 
miles; from Dad Joe's Grove to Princeton, fifteen miles; from 
Princeton to Boyd's Grove, fifteen miles; from Boyd's Grove to 
Northhampton, twenty miles; from Northhampton to Silliman's, 
fifteen miles; from Silliman's to Peoria, twenty miles. These 
figures, 105 miles, make a total above Surveyor Warner's of some- 
thing like twenty-five miles, which must he accounted for by 
detours made l»y the stage drivers fi'om tlie regular and original 
line run hy Warner. 

When Indians were present, the iiietliod of crossing Rock river 
was simple. Winnebago Indians in numbers were foimd at this 
point then ;ni<l rather thickly settled along the Itanks. Moreover 
tliey were Ncry rrieiidly with the whites, ac(iuieseing readily in all 
re(|uests to ohlige them witli theii' siin])le methods of ferrying over 
tile liver. '^I'wn canoes were placed side by side. Into one of these 
till- two wheels of uiic side ( d' a wagon AVei'e placed, and into the 
othei', 1 he Iwo whecds of the other side of the wagon were placed. 
I II t his posit ion, the 1 1 id ia lis easily ferried wagons across the river. 
The horst's were made to swim. Once across, the horses were 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 35 

liitcliecl again to tlie wagou and the traveler proceeded ou towards 
Galena. 

Wlien, however, the Indians were absent, as was too frequently 
the case, the inconvenience was very great, as fording was impos- 
sible except at rare intervals. 

Delays became so exasperating that John L. Bogardus of Peoria 
in the year 1827 resolved to construct a ferry boat and establish it 
at this point. For this purpose he sent up from Peoria a man who 
built a "shanty" eight by ten on the banks of the stream who 
remained in it a short while until Bogardus sent up a Mr. Doty, a 
carpenter, and father of the Elisha Doty already mentioned, who 
with the first arrival started to build the ferr_y boat. When aliout 
half completed, the Indians burned it and advised Mr. Doty and 
his assistant to return to Peoria. The advice was accepted without 
argument. Parenthetically, it may be said of Bogardus, that he 
had been educated for the law ; but in Peoria he had been mixed up 
considerably with ferries. In Ballance's history of Peoria, he is 
put down as a "sharper." 

Tins trail had become so important to the whites, however, that 
the failure of the Bogardus venture but strengthened their deter- 
mination to equip Rock river with a ferry and be no longer depend- 
ent on the whims or habits of the Indians. 

More than this, — the route had become so important and travel 
had become so heavy that the Government had ordered a mail route 
to follow it, deflecting jnst enough to go to Gratiot's Grove over 
into Wisconsin. 

When it came time to bid for this profitable job, Mr. John 
Dixon, then clerk of the comity coimnissioners court of Peoria 
county and recorder, thi*ew in a bid for it. Later it was awarded to 
him and he took with him to the crossing Joseph Ogee, there to 
establish the ferry. Being one-half Indian, Ogee was not distui'bed 
and Mr. Dixon found favor with them for his enterprise and Ogee 
launched his boat in the spring of 1828 ; a boat propelled across the 
stream by poles, the passengers generally taking a pole and assist- 
ing in the w^ork sometimes arduous enough. This ferry started 
from the south l)ank of the stream and landed on the north side 
wherever good or bad fortune dictated, or perhaps I should say 
wherever the current of that day dictated ; high and low water of 
course had their influence on that decree. 

This method of "poling' contimied until the year 1830 when 
Mr. Dixon bought the ferry from Ogee. During this period of 



36 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

practically two years Ogee occupied the lint built for Bogardus by 
the latter 's representative. 

Joseph Ogee was a Frenchinau living at Peoria m the year 
1828. For a long w^hile he had acted as interpreter between the 
whites and the Indians. He must have been a person of average 
consequence, at least in the year 1825, because I find in H. W. Wells' 
"The Schools and Teachers of Early Peoria," in a letter writteii 
by Mrs. Maria Flarkness, who taught school in Peoria in May, 1826, 
tiiat Ogee was one of her patrons and sent his children to her 
school to be taught. The same John L. Bogardus was another 
patron. Judge Latham, the Indian agent, and John Dixon were 
others. The number of patrons was eleven and the number of 
pupils was thirtv. The tuition charged was $1.50 per pupil for a 
term of three months, and the teaclu'r. then Miss Waters, boarded 

round. 

The school was commenced in a log calkin owned )jy Wilham 
Holland, the village blacksmith, Avhere it was continued but one 
week because there were uo windows and no light except the open 
door. Begiuniug with the second week, the school was moved to 
Ogee's "new hewed log cabin." This cabin must have been built 
alx)ut the vear 1825 because .James Eads, wdio attended the first 
school ever taught in Peoria (in 1S21 or 1822 and by James Orant) 
in I'cf erring to tlie ( )gee cabin says. •'( )--ee's hewed log cabin which 
was famous afterwards as a schoolhouse and cdurthouse was not 
built for two or three years afterwards." 

Ogee's cabin stood on the bank of the Illinois river ''near the 
Fort Clark Alill site and near the bridge." Just ]irior to the Black 
Hawk War in 1S:52 it was still used as a schoolliouse and in 1834 
when the lirst comthouse was built it was still used as a court- 
house. 

Ballance describes it as a cabin KixlS near tlie ])i-esent site of 

the Fm't Clark Mill. 

Oi;-ee liguicd in the first trial lield in his (^abin-courthouse and 
the lirst criminal case tried in the coui'ts of Peoria county: where- 
fore ,M brief notice ol' i1 sliould follow winle on the snltject of tlie 
foiindei- of the feri'v at Dixon. 

Some (jnestion has lieeii raised abont Ogee's blood. He was not 
a full Mood Frenclmiaii : he was a lialf bi-eed.— French and Indian. 
Judti-e l)a\-id McCulloimii. who wi'ote the best history of Pcoi'ia 
connlv e\-er imhlislicd. knew intimately all about Ogee wliile he 
i-esided at and iieai' I'eoi'ia. .Indite ^IcCnllough calls him a lialf 
lil'ced. 



s 



HISTORY OF LEK COUNTY 37 

Anotliei' indisputable authority is the reeoi-cl of tlie trial of the 
first murder ease iu Peoria county, and by the way, it mentions 
not only Ogee, but Father John Dixon, who was clerk of the court, 
so that Dixon people took an active part in the_ trial. 

Xom-a-(|ue was a Pottawatonne Indian, living far from Peoria 
on the Illinois river. He wanted to reach Ojia (\Yesley <'it.y) 
opposite the Bureau river. He reached it only to find the trading 
point abandoned. It had Ix'cn nio\'cd across the river to Peoria. 
Waiting for means to cross, a canoe beariiig a hunter ap})eared. 
When the canoe grated on the beach, the hunter threw his paddle 
across the gunwales of the boat and greeted the Indian. To the 
delight of ISTom-a-que the greeting was in the language of the 
Pottawatomies. 

Xom-a-que told the hunter he had traveled long and hard, that 
he wanted to go to the settlement and that he intended to locate 
thei-e for the winter. Later, as the canoe l^earing the Indian and 
the hunter glided gracefully u]) the river towards the village, the 
hunter told Nom-a-que that his name was Joseph Ogee, that h( 
had come to the trading post in 181fi, and that his wife, who wa? 
now waiting for him, was a Pottawatomie squaw. As the canoe 
drew near the village beach. ( )gee pointed out a large log cabin that 
stood neai- the river, which he said l^elonged to hmi and which was 
his home. After hauling the canoe high upon the bank. Ogee led 
Nom-a-que to his cabin, where the Indian was given a cordial 
welcome by the half breed's squaw. 

As Xom-a-que refreshed himself with meat and drink and th<' 
squaw jjrepared for the evening meal and he felt welcome in the 
humble cabin with his new foinid friends, he little dreamed tliat a 
few weeks later he would be tried for nmrder in the same room 
and cabin. Y^et this is what happened, for he was the first man 
tried for murder in Peoria county after the circuit was organized 
on Nov. 1-t, 1825. 

He had murdered Pierre Laundri, a Frenchman, during a 
drunken brawl. After a trial noted for its many disgraceful 
exhibitions by counsel, he was convicted. Ool. William S. Hamil- 
ton, son of Alexander Hamilton, defended him. He was convicted 
and his case was appealed to the Supreme Oourt and there after 
considerable delay, a new trial was given. 

There was no jail then, and the expense was considerabh' in 
hiring guards to watch him, but the Indian made no attempts to 
escape. He was re-tried and sentenced to be hanged. But his 
guai'd l)eint>' l)v that time carelesslv maintained, at the suggestion 



38 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

of his succeeding counsel lie escaped. Subsequently at the battle 
of Stilhnan's Run, lie was wounded so desperately that when found 
by Peoi'ians, he was humanely killed. 

The courtliduse was Ogee's cabin which I have mentioned 
before. At night the jui-ors slept in the room in their blankets, 
on the floor. The cabin is mentioned as standing on the bank of the 
river, near where the T. T'. & W. 1)Tidge lands on the Peoria side 
of the river. 

The present Lee county was in Peoria count^v then. The trial 
judge was John York Sawyei', the judge who induced Father Dixon 
to accept the clerkship of that court, and Father Dixon acted as 
clerk at the trial. The whole countryside attended that trial. Ogee 
swore to the original complaint, Oct. 4, 1S25, lief ore Jacob Wilson, 
a justice of the peace, and the offense is charged as having been 
committed Oct. 2, and on the fourth the victim died. 

Nom-a-quc at one time and another was confined in jail at 
Springlield, at another in Edwardsville, and the expense was con- 
siderable for those days. I should explain that after his second 
conviction, his case was appealed and that pending a decision, he 
was iiermitted to roam at large. 

The story is printed in the July niunber, 1912, of the Journal 
of the Illinois State Historical Society, pages 21:6, et seq. 

Thus it will be perceived, another item in Ogee's life was 
furnished; he came to the old American Fur Company's trading 
point, established by Grurdon S. Hubbard in 1818. 

The next notice we have of Lee county was in the year 1827. 
In that year. Red Bird, a Winnebago chief, of Wisconsin, was 
irritated into a declaration of war against the whites by the 
intrigue of the Sioux, and the massacre of a family of whites at 
Prairie du Chien folloAved. Fear for the Illinois settlements in 
the lead mines prompted the Illinois governor to send a battalion 
of troojjs thence to assist in (|uclling Red Bird's insurrection. After 
a tedious inarch to Oalena, it was found that Gen. Henry Atkinson 
and Col. Henry Dodge had captured Red Bird and the so-called 
Winnebago War had been terminated. 

Thus even before the estal)lishuu'nt of Ogee's Ferry, this point 
had attached to itself considerable importance as a place of ren- 
dezvous in times of danger and for the first tim(\ Dixon became a 
theatre of war. 

Mrs. S. W. I'lielps of hee Center has given us the best descrip- 
tion of 1 lie old l*eoria trail I lia\-e found. In 1832, lu'i' faniilv trav- 
eled fi'diii Siu-iiiglield t<i ( laleiia. "Tlien a child of eight, I was the 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 39 

junior member of a party of five eu route from New York Cit.y to 
Galena, 111. . . . The route was via Hudson river to Albany, 
thence across New York state by Erie canal to Buffalo, onward by 
stage to Wheeling, Va., down the Ohio river and up the Mississippi 
bj' steamboat, and without detentions, required a full month's time. 
" ... Arriving at Springfield, 111., it was found to the dis- 
may of the older travelers that the mail stage would travel no 
further northward before spring. After days of search for a good 
team for sale, my imcle bought a stout pair of horses, an emigrant 
wagon, buffalo robes, and provided with a compass, a large sack 
of crackers and some dried beef, the best provisions for emer- 
gencies of hunger Avhich the town afforded, we set forth, soon to 
leave the 'settlements" Ijehind and to pass through a wfilderness 
country made still more desolate by the 'Black Hawk War.' 

"Stopping places become more infrequent, till for the latter 
days of the dreary way they were forty miles aj^art, the blackened 
ruins of cabins now and then marking the deserted 'claims.' (I do 
not know of a cabin on the trail burned in 1832 by the Indians; 
some other cause must have contributed. Editor.) Roads, more 
properly called 'trails' by the inhabitants, long mnised and either 
overgrown by prairie grass oi- burned (jver by autumnal fires, were 
difficult to follow. Late in the afternoon of Dec. 13, our wagon 
halted before a little cabin known as 'Daddy Joe's.' Daddy Joe 
had espied us from afar, and awaited our approach leaning upon 
the rail fence, smoking a cob pipe, his rotund figure topped off by 
a well ventilated straw hat. His son, yet a lad, occupied a post 
of observation upon a 'top rail,' his head also sheltered from the 
wintry winds by a similar structure. 

" 'Winnebago Inlet,' known to early settlers as a slough of 
despond, lay between us and Dixon's Ferry, our haven of rest for 
the coming night, and my uncle asked directions to a safe crossing 
from Daddy Joe. His advice given between long jniffs of his pipe 
was that we shoidd go no further that 'evening. ' He kindly offered 
shelter, food and his son as guide in the morning, as he was sure we 
could not 'make the ford' l)efore dark. His assertion that the old 
ford was impassable and that the trail to the new was too blind to 
folks after night, was assuring, but anxious to jiush on, my uncle 
urged the tired horses to a lively pace. The result proved Daddy 
Joe the wiser man. The winter dusk came on all too early, the 'old 
trail,' too easily mistaken for the new, and in the uncertain twi- 
light, the horses plunged down the steep, slippery bank into the 
black abyss of the 'old ford.' The poor beasts floundered breast 



iO HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

deep in the icy inusli, till just beyond midstream tliey covdd go no 
further. The wagon settled to its bed and the three feminine occu- 
pants climbed upon the trunks in the rear end, there to perch for 
several hours. B.y des^jerate struggles an occasional jerk brought 
us a few inches forward, after each one the wagon again settling 
into miry Ijed. Thus after several hours of exhausting effort the 
two men were able to leap to the shore from the backs of the horses, 
bj-e and b^'e to land the stronger horse and with his help to pull out 
his fellow, now hardly able to stand alone. Then one by one, we 
were helped along the tongue of the wagon to terra tirma. My aunt, 
exhausted by fatigue and fright, was lifted to the back of the better 
horse with a buffalo robe as saddle, her husband leading the horse. 
Mr. Hull followed coaxing along the other, Miss Pierce and myself 
bringing uj) the rear. We started by the light of the new risen 
moon along the trail in 'Indian tile' for a walk of three miles to 
'Dixon's Ferry.' 

"1 recall distinctly the feelings with which 1 trudged on in the 
dee^D silence of midnight under the glistening stars over the bound- 
less i)rairie. The weary march t'uded at last, twinkling lights 
greeted our eager eyes and as we quickened our pace the moon- 
])eams revealed a most })ictures(jue, tlumgh somewhat startling 
scene. White tents gleamed and in every direction snK)\ddering 
camplires showed dusky, blanketed forms crouching or lying prone 
around tliciii while a few men in army uniform liearing lanterns 
moved al)out with alert step and keen eye. We halted at once, the 
ladies greatly alarmed, but the watchers had noted approaching 
hoof beats and hurried to reassure us, explaining that several 
thousand Indians were there encamiK'd, for the tinal settlement 
of amuiities and other matters included in their recent treaty with 
the Government. A moment later we were made welcome to the 
warmth and comfort of her neat cal)in by ]\[rs. Dixon, who hastened 
to make ready a hot, relishing supper, a royal feast to our famish- 
ing ap])('tit('s. 

''Our kind hostess gave up her own soft lied by the cheerful 
hearth tire to the ladies, tucking me snugly away at the foot to a 
dreamless slee]», tinding a resting ])lace somewhere among her 
many guests for my uncle and Mr. Hall. 

"ill the gray of the caily dawn. Mr. Dixon and his stalwart 
sons started out with oxen, chains and poles to rescue the aban- 
<loiied praii'ie sclioonei- I'roui the Inlet Slough, returning with it in 
triuin|ilial ])rocessioii a few bonis later. Meanwhile, some one had 
taken me out iido the 'great tent' among the warrior chiefs, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 41 

adorned with paint and feathers and earrings, and gorgeous in all 
the new toggery obtained from the agents. As we passed around 
the circle, a painted chief caught me up in his arms, seating me on 
his knee, admired and patted my red cheeks, calling me 'brave 
squaw, brave squaw, ' because 1 did not turn pale and run away in 
fear. Ail preparations for a fresh start were soon completed, and 
we made haste to leave Lee coiuitj^ soil — at least so much of it as 
we were not compelled to carry away upon our belongings. But 
getting away proved no easy matter. The horses had not been con- 
sulted. Once at the river's brink our troubles began anew. The 
ferry was a rope ferry, the boat a flat boat 'poled' across the swift 
flowing river. The quivering horses, terrified at sight of the water, 
refused to enter the boat. After long and vain urging they finally 
made a wild plunge forward which sent the boat spinning from the 
shore as they sprang upon the boat, dragging the fore wheels of the 
wagon with them, the hind wheels dropping into the river, almost 
tossing us into the stream. Instantly, Mr. Hall was in the shallow 
water with his shoulder to the wheel, and somehow, between the 
efforts of the men and horses the whole wagon was got on board. 
After a halt upon the shore for advice and thanks to our friends, 
and a changing of the soaked garments for dry ones by the chilled 
men, their dripping raiment fluttering from various points of the 
wagon cover, our long ride to the lead mines was again resumed." 

The old trail from Peoria to Galena became the most famous 
trail in the country. Northward a constant stream poured in the 
spring to make money from the lead mines. In the fall the same 
stream flowed backward. This movement so like that of the fish 
called sucker, gave the name Sucker to the people of Illinois and 
ever since it has clung to them. 

It is known quite generally that Ogee was an intemperate man. 
It is known that he married a Pottawatomie woman because at the 
treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829, his wife, Madeline, was given 
a section of ground in Wyoming township, Lee coimty; but for 
what services, I cannot tell. The treaty simply recites, "To Made- 
line, a Pottawatomie woman, wife of Joseph Ogee, one section west 
of and adjoining the tract herein granted to Pierre 'Leclerc,' at the 
Paw-paw Grove." Ogee did a famous business. For some reason 
or another, possibly because he had not complied with the law 
governing ferries. Ogee took out a license from Jo Daviess county, 
Dec. 7, 1829. Possibly it was because a postoffice was about to be 
established at this point. In the year 1829 any way a postoffice 



42 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

designated "Ogee's Ferry" was established and a Mr. Gay was 
made postmaster. 

From the American State Papers — Post Offices, I ma.de the 
discovery that the receipts for the first year of Ogee's F'erry as a 
postofiice, ending March 31, 1830, were $4.61:, while from Galena 
they were the largest in the state, $824.54 ; over at Elkhorn they 
were 48 cents; at Peoria, $58.82; New Salem, Lincoln's old home, 
$4.16, and Chicago, nothing. 

Ogee's habits became so lax that rather than see the ferry lose 
its prestige, Mr. Dixon took it off his hands and on April 11, 1830, 
he moved his family, consisting of hmiself, Mrs. Dixon and their 
five children, to this spot. On Sept. 29, 1830, he was commissioned 
postmaster of "Dixon's Ferry," the new name of the place. As 
such postmaster, he continued until the year 1837. 

As soon as Father Dixon obtained the ferry, a new order was 
introduced ; a rope ferry was su]:)stituted for the Ogee method of 
"poling." 

Travel increased along the trail and the fact that it became 
known generally that John Dixon Avas the only man between Peoria 
and Galena Avho had money, settlers were drawn here, expecting to 
get work enough from him to pay living expenses Avhile they were 
getting their claims cultivated. 

This log house was store and taverji combined and manj' a 
famous man has tarried with F^ither Dixon. LTp and down and 
down and up, Fatlier Dixon fed and lodged them and Father 
Dixon loaned thcisc old argonauts mone}'. He traded with the 
Indians and out of their affectionate regard for him they named 
him Na-chu-sa (Flead-hair-white)- Some have tortured the name 
into Nadah-Churah-Sali. Perlia])s that was tlu' correct version 
and i)erhaps their explanation is true that the Indian habit of 
ab})reA-iation made it sound Na-clui-sa ; the last named is the i)ro- 
nunciation that has come to us l»y no less an authority than John 
Dixon himself. 

AYith Mr. Dixon's settlement here. Ogee loitered about the fei'ry 
until about 1839. Not very long l)efore Father Dixon bought the 
ferry f I'oni liim, his wife, angered at his worthlessness, threatened 
to leave him. Quarrels ])ccame the rule rather than the exception, 
and one day witliout ceremony, Mrs. Ogee trailed off imder the 
knowledge and the certain belief that being rich in her own right, 
sbe would not have long to wait liefore her hand was sought in 
mai'i'iage, and snre enongli it Avas. Madeline was a wise lady for 
an Indian. A man named .lol) Aleott living near the present 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 43 

tillage of Paw Paw inarried her aud tugetlier, man aud wife 
removed to the West with the tribe of Pottawatoniies. 

As the records of Lee county show at this time, the hiud was 
sold to David A. Town, of Paw Paw, the first settler. The sale was 
effected by the execution of two deeds ; but as the descriptions were 
rather vague, a thii'd deed was executed with something like 
accuracy. 

From an inspection of the treat}' of Prairie du Chien, one would 
believe that the grant to Madeline Ogee was in fee simple, but I am 
told by the Secretary of War that in all cases, the consent of the 
Government was required to alienate a piece of laud and that in the 
case of Mrs. Alcott, the Government gave that consent to all three 
transfers. 

More than likel.y some doubting reader may inquire when and 
where Madeline got her divorce before taking on a bigamous hus- 
band. Alas ! Madeline, charming widow that she was — not — took 
Mr. Alcott for better or for worse without asking consent of any 
of the courts. A divorce proceeding was quite unlvnown and 
superfluous. Alcott proposed and she took him before he could 
escape. 

Prom the execution of the last deed, all trace of the Alcotts and 
Ogee vanished. Ogee's disappearance was the 1)eginning of the 
end; the passing of the red man from our land. In the year 1835, 
the 3^ear of the great migration westwai'd, the last of the Wiime- 
bagoes were taken west to theii' new reservation. While they 
remained they traded with Mr. Dixon ; they trusted him implicitly 
and they carried his fame for honesty so far into neighl)(»ring 
tribes that while other whites were molested and robbed and others 
were nmrdered, the family of Mr. Dixon never was disturl)e(l. 

During the presence of Black Hawk, in advance of the trooi:)s, 
he ate at Mr. Dixon's table and Mrs. Dixon waited upon him. 
For this notable service Mrs. Dixon had his affectionate regard. 

In another place I have told of the old account books still 
owned by Mr. Henry S. Dixon, which Mv. Dixon kept with the 
Indians, but I did not include one entry which of itself should be 
selected as the brightest piece of humor ever written aboi;t Dixon. 
The entry is this: "Col. Z. Taylor, To Mdse., including shirt pat- 
tern, $6.50." 

Aud then follows the story of its liquidation: "Settled by 
note." 

Col. William S. Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, traveled 
that famous old trail and stopped many a time with Father Dixon, 



44 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

and many an item may be found chai'ged against him for mer- 
chandise and money borrowed. 

Wintield Scott, a candidate for President and the general of 
all the armies, when he came out to relieve Atkinson, stopped with 
Father Dixon and he bought goods too. But the entries show that 
he was a cash customer. 

But those acquaintances and those credits, like the one to Taylor, 
had their influence. When in 1840 John Dixon went to Washington 
to secure the removal of the United States land office from Galena 
to Dixon, Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott made it their busi- 
ness to assist him with the result that in 1840 the land office was 
ordered removed to Dixon and in 1840 it was removed. 

While in 1834 the importance of this trail was diminished and 
the Peru and Peoria shipping and trading points lost in influence 
to the rising young city of Chicago, Dixon became a center of larger 
influence b}^ reason of the establishment in that year of the mail 
route by the Government from Galena through Dixon to Chicago, 
and with that year, the history of Lee county may be said to begin. 

Stations in Lee coimty were established at Inlet, Melugin's 
Grove and Paw Paw, though for a considerable period East Paw 
Paw maintained a higher degree of importance, than its Lee county 
namesake. It seems remarkable that notwithstanding the selec- 
tion of a north and south route through Lee county and its use for 
many years by a constant stream of travel, few stopped by the 
wayside to settle in Lee county. The tide of immigration which 
began in 1835, came almost entirely from the east along the Dixon 
mail and stage road which traversed the county diagonally from 
the southeast to the northwest and while the Peoria trail is but a 
memory and is an utter stranger to the maps of today, yet the old 
Dixon-Chicago trail today is almost identical with the old 1834 
route from Dixon, clear through to Chicago. After the settlement 
of the Dixons here, Mr. John K. Robison was about the first to 
follow. Listening to the rumors of ]Mr. Dixon's money, he followed 
in 1833 and obtained eniplo;sinent teaching Mr. Dixon's children 
and some others from Buffalo Grove. He used the old Dixon man- 
sion for liis school room; thus the mansion became the first tavern, 
the first store and the first school in Dixou and in Lee county. 
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Robison moved to Melugin's Grove, mar- 
ried a daugliter of Zachariah Melugin and lived there practically 
all the rest of his life. 

Some few variations were attempted in the route when settle- 
ments came into importance as they did with great rapidity; but 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 45 

with the exception of a change to take in Aurora when that place 
had reached a prominent position in the census reports, little or no 
change ever was made in the famous old Chicago road. 

On March 2, 1839, the change was made to Aurora. The road 
was to begin on the west bank of Fox river at or near a house built 
by Harvey Bristol, occupied by Horace Town, then west to strike 
the Dixon's Ferry road. Such was the language of the act of the 
Legislatiire which authorized the change. Roadmaking at that 
time occupied the public mind quite as much as it does today while 
we are talking about the lancoln Highway and other great I'oad 
schemes. On the same day mentioned above, the Legislature 
authorized the la}dng out of a road from Dixon's Ferry to Linder, 
Union Grove and thence on to Fulton City. Dixon was a center, it 
will be observed ! On the same day all roads established as county 
roads were declared to be state I'oads and thereafter every Legis- 
lature dealt with the subject of roads with greater frequency than 
any other subject. 

On March 2, 1837, an act was passed by the Legislature to view 
and lay out a road from Princeton in "Putnam" county, to inter- 
sect the state road leading from Chicago to Dixon's Ferry in Ogle 
county. And this road actually was laid out and it became the 
thoroughfare from Princeton to Chicago. By the laying out of 
that road, Mr. George B. Haskell, the Inlet merchant, secured a 
large volume of trade at his Inlet store. Only a few days ago 
Mrs., Haskell told me that her husband's trade was largely from 
the country over in the direction of Princeton and that it was her 
custom always to put up the customer for the night, feed him and 
his team and send him back with the best of opinions of Mr. Has- 
kell and his generosity. 

The commissioners to lay out that Princeton branch of the 
Chicago road, were men who subsequently secured national fame. 
Their names were Charles Bryant, Joseph Knox, and John Kim- 
ball. 

As I have mentioned before, the road designed to run from 
Lewiston to Galena never reached the period of infancy. It died 
in childbirth. But the road from Beardstown to Galena by way 
of Prophetstown, Savanna, Plum river on the north and Hen- 
derson, Knoxville, Rushville on the south, came near rivaling 
Kellogg 's and Boles' trails out of existence. Father Dixon had 
more to do with the ultimate extinction of the Beardstown road 
than any other influence. He put it out of commission just as he 
put the Galena land office out of commission, and Dixon's Ferry 



46 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

was saved. The road was so importaut iu the eyes of the Legis- 
hiture, that five commissioners were appointed to hiy it out : A. M. 
Seynu)ur, of Henry comity ; Asa Cook, of Whiteside county ; Israel 
Mitchell, of Jo Daviess county; Russel Tancrey, of Schuyler 
county, and G. A. Charles of Knox county. The intention of the 
act was to create a great state road. 

One reason why many of the contemplated north and south 
roads were failures, was the lack of bridges of any character by 
which to cross the low ground which lay from Lee county clear over 
to th(> Mississippi river. 

On the Peoria road through Lee county, the distance over 
marshy groimd was made ti'itling by reason of the narrowness of 
the strip which laid between Inlet and Winnebago swamps (all 
then called Winnel)ago swamp). That at times was very bad, but 
eftVii'ts were made early to afford the traveler a passage over, 
sometimes perilous. l)ut ue^'ertheless certain. The older method 
alread.y has been recited by the Lee ( -enter lady. 

On E'eb. 19, 1839, Henry AV. Cleaveland, obtained an act of the 
Legislature, by which he was granted the privilege of building a 
bridge across the Winnebago swamp, and this bridge and its neces- 
sary causeway were to be finished li}'^ a certain date in 1840. Like 
every other venture autlKU'ized in those days it was not finished on 
time and Cleaveland had his franchise extended on Feb. 26, 1841, 
to Dec. 1, 1841, in wliich to finish his In'idge and causewa.y. 

The causeway was to l)e raised at least three feet above the sur- 
face of adjacent ground and was to extend north or south of the 
bridge across Oreen river so as to embrace all the wet groimd. It 
was to be made of good timber, and was to be covered with earth. 
Furthermore, the bridge need not be more than fifteen feet wide. 
Mr. Cleaveland dallied until Feb. 3, 1843, when a supplement- 
ary act was passed amending the original act so that "it shall not 
be so construed as to compel the said Cleaveland, his associates, 
etc., to i;se timljer or stone in the erection of the causeway across 
Winnebago swamp only at such place or places where it is abso- 
lutely necessary. 

"Section 2. Said Cleaveland may procure one disinterested 
householder of Tjcc county to examine the bridge and causeway; 
the county connnissioners another and the two so chosen to select 
a tliii'd and if they tlnul< ilic bri(lL:,(' and causeway are completed 
accdrdiiig In law and this cxiilannlion. they shall file an affidavit 
tliet'cof in tlic office of (lie clerk, which shall be satisfactory evidence 
mitil contrary ap]iears."' M"'hat ended Cleaveland's legislation. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 47 

The road, was made of dirt and timbers, but mauy times the dirt 
left the logs beneath and then all the tortures of travel on a cordu- 
roy road were endured. 

In another part of this book, (May town,) there has been 
written a faithful and very interesting story about this noted old 
causeway and its history, good and bad. It tells of the old toll 
house and tavern, so lonesome that flies and mosquitoes fled when 
they chanced that way. The nnu'ders too are told minutely. 

The old Galena, Dixon, Chicago road, which became the ulti- 
mate stage road and state road, was sur^-eyed by Capt. Joseph 
Naper of Naperville in 1833. The first stage coach on this stage- 
mail route to leave Dixon, started eastward Jan. 1, 1834. 

On Jan. 12, 1836, John Boles and James L. Kirkpatrick were, 
by enactment, permitted to Imild a toll bridge over "Fever river, at 
or near a place in Galena, called Meeker's furnace and at the termi- 
nation of the state road." 

On Feb. 10, 1835, a bill was apjoroved which authorized the 
laying out of a state road from Chicago to Galena, crossing Rock 
river at the residence of John Phelps (Oregon). And the road, 
passing through Sycamore and St. Charles, was surveyed duly, and 
used for many years, under the provisions of an act approved 
March 4, 183?! 

On the same Fel). 10th, the act was approved authorizing the 
survey of the road from "the Paw Paw Grove, on the road lead- 
ing from Chicago to Dixon's Ferry, running from said grove by 
the groves on the headwaters of Bureau river, to the settlements at 
Dimick's Grove, on said stream, and from thence to Princeton, so 
as best to accommodate the inhabitants between those points, and 
from Princeton, on the shortest and best I'oute to the county seat 
of Rock Island county." The reader will find this road mentioned 
many times in the history of Sublette, through which township it 
passed. Bnt evidently, either the route was unsatisfactory oi- some 
hitch halted it until Feb. 24, 1843, when another act authorized 
Commissioners William Hoskins, Robert E. Thompson and Enos 
Smith of Bureau county to view, survey, mark, locate and establish 
a state road from Princeton, ^da Dover and LaMoille to the intei'- 
section of the state road leading from Paw Paw to Princeton. 

I am convinced the road had been built already and that this 
act, but changed it somewhat, because in the title, the word re-^^ew 
is used. 

Among other measures put through various Legislatures to 
amend old roads and make new ones, was one passed Jan. 14, 1836, 



48 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

to straighten out the road from Peoria to Dixon, and James Wilson 
of Tazewell county, Henry Thomas of Putnam county and Simon 
Reed of Peoria county, were appointed commissioners "to view, 
survey, mark and locate a state road, to commence at the court- 
house in Peoria, running thence by the most direct route to Rock 
river, to strike the same at a i)oint on the first rapids below Dixon's 
Ferry; thence by the most direct route to Galena." 

For this work, which by the way never was done, the commis- 
sioners were to be paid $2 per day, which, with the surveyors and 
chainmen's fees were to he paid by William Kirkpatrick of Rock 
river. In consideration therefor, said Kirkpatrick was to be per- 
mitted to build a toll bridge across the Winnebago swamp, at the 
place where said road crossed the swamp. The bill was passed to 
help Kirkpatrick and for no other purpose, and like so many 
others, failed. 

On Feb. 27, 1837, an act was ajjproved authorizing the survey 
of a road from Peoria via Wappelo and Savanna to Galena. But 
like most other roads designed to attack the Dixon road, nothing 
successful ever came of it. The Cleaveland charter, under the act 
of Feb. 19, 1839, superseded all others, just as in the earlier years 
it had preceded them. 

May 3, 1843, Morris Walrod of DeKalb, Reuben Pritchard of 
Ogle, and Bela T. Hunt of Kane county, were appointed commis- 
sioners to lay out, mark and locate a state road from Chicago via 
St. Charles, Sycamore, Coltonville and Browdies' Grove to Dixon. 
The bill also conferred the power to assess damages as well as esti- 
mate the advantages and disadvantages. This bill was designed to 
draw to Sycamore some of the importance wdiich had become 
attached to places along the more southerly route and unite at 
Sycamore, the Oregon and the Dixon routes. But nothing ever 
came of it. 

The state road, LaSalle to inlet, where it intersected the Chi- 
cago I'oad was authorized by act of March 3, 1843, and it was the 
road which crossed Sublette township and subsequently was used 
extensively. To locate this road Zimri Lewis and Jarvis Swift of 
LaSallc county and George E. Haskell of Lee county, were 
appointed commissioners. 

Evidently, once a state road had been located, it remained a 
fixture until subsequent legislation changed it, because in looking 
over the session laws. T found many instances where old routes 
were vacated either by change or abandonment. The Dixon-Peoria 
road was no exception. On March 2, 1843, so much of the Peoria- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 49 

Galena road via Osceola and Wappello (spelling of the act fol- 
lowed), was vacated, ''as is located across block 1, Hale's second 
addition to Peoria, and extending diagonally across said block from 
Main to Hamilton street." 

The last road worthy of notice, which I find, was authorized by 
act of Feb. 12, 1849, and it appointed Commissioners Henry Porter 
of Lee, Henry Childs of Bureau and J. P. Thompson of LaSalle, 
to locate it from Peru to Knox's Gi'ove, in the town of Sublette. 



The trails are gone. In Lee county, the banditti of the prairie 
gave them many chapters of desperate deeds. They lent an atmos- 
phere and an action which made brave men tremble, but which now 
have the lure of memories far more pleasing. Like all the other 
problems which confronted the old pioneer, he met and conquered 
the desperado, the corduroy road, the storm and poverty. What a 
fight that brave old warrior made! What a brave old soul that 
hardy fearless pioneer was ! If he were alive today, he would hark 
back to the scenes with the same interest we do and with perhaps 
a secret pleasure that he was in at the beginning and that he was in 
at the death, too, of the regime of terror and trouble. 

Do you now cavil because I have spent so much time upon the 
first days of this fertile and prosperous county of ours where lands 
sell for fabulous sums; where men drive miles in less time than 
the pioneer drove inches ? 



CHAPTER IV 

LEE COUNTY WHILE A PART OE OGLE 

After the adoption of the constitution in 1818, and tlie rapid 
settlement in the newer parts of tlie state, communities desired 
closer communication with county seats and so, early, those set- 
tlements broke away from the ]iarent count_v and set up for them- 
selves. 

When on Jan. 31, 182L Pike county was formed, Lee eoimty 
became a part of Pike county. Wlien on Jan. 13, 1825, Peoria 
broke away from Fultou, Lee l)ecame a part of Peoria coimty. 

In the year 1826, voters in the northwestern part of the state 
became numerous enough to have appointed for them a voting 
precinct on Fever river, near Galena, called the Fever riA'cr pre- 
cinet and on August 7, the first election was held, of which ISTehe- 
miali Bates, Jesse W. Shull, and Andrew Clamo, sworn in before 
John L. Bogardus, J. P., acted as judges. 

In that same year, 204 persons were listed as tax payers and a 
deputy from Peoria was sent iip to collect the taxes. But the citi- 
zens of that district defied the deputy and he returned home with- 
out any taxes. Such a state of anarchy could not endure for long 
and so Jo Daviess county was organized Feb. 2, 1827, and Lee came 
into that jurisdiction. The process was slow, but nevertheless, 
certain. 

Then in the year 1836, Ogle was organized and our stay in Ogle 
pro'^ided us with some of our most iiiteresting history. But l)efore 
entering Ogle I should state that the first election precinct which 
embraced Dixon and in which its |)('(i])lc might vote, was estali- 
lished June 8, 1831, by the county conunissioners of Jo Daviess 
coimty, and was defined as follows: 

"It is considered that the persons residing within the following 
limits sliall constitute voters within Buffalo Grove precinct, viz.: 

51 



52 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

East of the Lewiston road and south of a line to include the dweU- 
ings of Crane and tl.ylliard, running to the southern boundary of 
the county inclusive. 

"It is considered that John Dixon, Isaac Chambers and John 
Ankeny, be and they are appointed judges of elections for the Buf- 
falo Grove precinct." 

This Lewiston trail crossed Rock river at Prophetstown and 
passed up through Carroll county, not far from Lanark. 

But even for those days. Galena was a long distance away for 
county seat purposes and impatient for more convenience, a new 
county was prayed for in the confident expectation that by its erec- 
tion a settlement, instead of a raw ]3iece of prairie remote from 
settlement, woi;ld be selected, and an act was passed by the Legis- 
lature, and approved Jan. 16, 1836, erecting the county of Ogle. 
Its ai'ea comin-ehended the present counties of Lee and Ogle. 

Two of the three commissioners, appointed by the act, met as 
ordered, June 20, 1836, at the liouse of Oliver W. Kellogg, in Buf- 
falo Grove, from which they traveled over eastward and located 
the county seat in the midst of a wild unsettled country and on a 
claim "claimed" by John Phelps and a stake was driven in the 
land to indicate that it had been selected for county seat purposes. 

It was the rule at the time that when commissioners had selected 
raw land for count}' seat purposes, the United States would donate 
the same for the ]jurpose and issue a patent. 

In this instance, the location was done so carelessly that a mis- . 
take was made in the description of the (piarter section and later, 
the mistake created a fruitful subject for litigation. But, the spot 
was the one upon which Oregon, once called Floi'ence, stands today. 
Then the house of John Pheljjs was about the only one near the 
place. 

The action of the commissioners made every settlement in the 
comity angry and at the fii'st election Oregon had to fight them all. 

The act ])rovided for an election of county officers on the first 
Monday of April, 1836, but because the commissioners had not met 
to locate the county seat and because of indifference, the election 
was not held until Pee. 24, 1836, the date set by Thomas Ford the 
judge of the Sixth judicial circuit, so that meantime the territory 
remained under the jurisdiction of Jo Paviess county. 

By the same act creating Ogle, Whiteside county was erected, 
but for reasons, similar, perha])s to those existing in Ogle, White- 
side was not organized completely until 1839, when Lee and White- 
side both were cut off from Ogle. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 53 

Some historians have made the mistake of stating that Ogle 
comity as created by the act of the Legislature, embraced White- 
side county. Such was not the case. Whiteside was attached to 
Ogle during its formative process for judicial purjjoses only. 

By the time this election day called by Judge Ford had rolled 
around, the fiercest rivalry between Dixon and the so-called village 
of Oregon, had sprung up, and so the two places prepared to 
grapple for supremacy. 

Inasmuch as the county commissioners would control the place 
of holding the courts and could control the county officers as well, 
mitil suitable buildings were provided, and they were made the 
judges of what constituted suitable county buildings, Dixon and its 
friends prepared to secure the election of commissioners favorable 
to Dixon, and it presented the names of Virgil A. Bogue, of Buffalo 
Grove ; S. St. John JVIix, of Byron and Cyrus Chamberlain, of Lee 
county (now), but a resident of Grand Detour precinct. Oregon 
presented the names of Isaac Rosencrans, Ezra Bond and W. J. 
Mix of Oregon. 

F'ollowing was the vote : 

DIXON CANDIDATES 

V. A. Bogue 98 votes 

S. St. John Mix 98 votes 

Cyrus Chamberlain 95 votes 

OREGON CANDIDATES 

Isaac Rosencrans 89 votes 

Ezra Bond 90 votes 

W. J. Mix 87 votes 

Votes on county officers were as follows : 

Recorder, James V. Gale, 138; B. J. Phelps, 48. Surveyor, 
Joseph Crawford, 119; William Sanderson, 63. Sheriff, W. W. 
Mudd, 95 ; Jeremiah Murphy, 93. Coroner, L. H. Evarts, 94 ; Ira 
Hill, 96. 

The poll book shovring the 188 voters, voting at that exciting 
election, has been destroyed partially. The only names left on it 
are: J. P. Dixon, W. A. House, L. Crandle, E. W. Hine, J. L. 
Spaulding, A. Shepherd. J. F. Sanford, D. JaAanole, M. T. Kiral)all, 
L. S. Huff, A. Rue, J. Rue, C. N. Turner, J. Young, A. Dickerman, 



54 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

H. Hill, B. B. Brown, J. iSnyder, 8. S. Spai;ldiug, R. Murray, P. 
Cameron, W. Southall, AMlliam Sanderson, >S. Sharer, S. Gilbraitli, 
G. Chandler, James V. Gale, G. Kosencrans, W. W. Mudd, I). 
Brown, J. W. Jenkins, John Boardman, S. C. Fuller, Kobert Page, 
David Reed, H. Rosencrans, S. Snuth, G. Angel, Jas. AVilliams, 
I. W. Moss, S. Johnson, — DriseoU. Mr. Gale, of Oregon, recorder- 
elect, made the following entry in his diary, wliieh indicates mildly 
the feeling aroused at that election : 

"There was great excitement at this election. All the towns 
were against Oregon. A large quantity of whiskey was drunk, 
and several fights occurred. Dixon, Grand Detour, Buffalo Grove 
and Bloomingville (now Byron), all combined against Oregon. A 
great deal of hard feeling grew out of this election that lasted until 
Lee county was set olf and erected into an independent county. 
One man became so boisterous and pugilistic towards his brother 
that he was tied with a roj^e. It was the noisiest, roughest, most 
exciting election ever held in the coimty." 

The judges of that election were James V. Gale, G. W. Rosen- 
crans and Jonathan W. Jenkins. The clerks Avere Smith Gilbraith 
and George Chandlei'. 

Smith (irilbraith was appointed clerk of the county connnis- 
sioners' court. James P. Dixon and Oliver W. Kellogg, father of 
Mrs. E. B. Baker, signed his bond. Thus Dixon controlled the 
situation and thus it will be seen Iioav, with a technical count}" seat 
at Oregon, all the courts were held in Dixon at the schoolhouse. 
Until Lee was set olf, the comity conunissi oners' court, which must 
not be confused with the circuit court, was a peripatetic affair. 

The first session convened Jan. 3, 1837, at the house of James 
Phelj^s in Oregon City. Present, Virgil A. Bogue and S. St. John 
Mix. The first order made was the appointment of Smith Gil- 
braith, clerk. 

On March 6, 1837, the connnissioners met at the house of Mr. F. 
Cushman, Buffalo Grove. At this session < Vrus Chamlierlain 
a|)peai'cd, and Oliver W. Kellogg was apj^ointed county treasurer 
and entered into bonds in the sum of >(<3,000 with James P. Dixon 
and K. W. Covell, both of Dixon, as sureties. At this session, too. 
license was gi-aiited ]-]. W. Covell. to sell goods, wares, merchan- 
dise, elc.. for one year, in eonsidoratioii of the payment of $10 to 
the (-(.uiity treasurer. 'I'iiis $10 was the first money paid into the 
treasury. 

it may be interesting to know, at this point that the first license 
to keep tavern in the new county was issued to Joseph Sawyer, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 55 

and the secoud oue was issued to Adolphiis Bliss of Inlet notoriety, 
for whicli each paid $10. 

Oue of the tirst as well as oue of the most important duties of 
the commissioners at that session was to lav off election precincts, 
two of which fell to territory now embraced in Lee county. The 
Dixon precinct was bounded as follows: "Commencing on the 
west liue of the county on township line between sections 22 and 
23 ; running east eight miles ; then south to Rock river ; down Rock 
river to the south liue of section 17; then east two miles, then 
south three miles ou line between sections 31 and 35 ; then east to 
town line ; then south to the north line of town 20 ; then west to 
county liue; then north to place of beginning." 

William P. Burrows, James P. Dixon and WiUiam Martin, 
were appointed judges of elections, and the house of E. W. Covell, 
was named as the voting place. 

Iidet was named also as a precinct : Bounded on the north by 
Dixon, (Irand Detoiu' and Oregon Cit}^ precincts; on the east, by 
the coimty line, and ou the south and west by the lines of said 
county. Zachariah Melugiu, Thomas Dexter and Charles West 
were appointed judges and the h(»use of Cor3^don Dewey was made 
the polling place. 

March 7th, Adolphus Bliss and others presented a petition ask- 
ing for viewers to view for road purposes, a route past the "Travel- 
er's Home," the log tavern of Bliss. Five dollars was deposited 
to pay the viewers' expenses and John Dixon, Cory don Dewey and 
Zachariah Melugiu were appointed viewers and their report was 
unfa^-orable to the proposed road. It may be well to add at this 
point that the deposit of money in those days went to pay the view- 
ers' fees; if the road was l)uilt, it was returned; if not the money 
was not returned. 

At this same meeting, rates for tavern keepers were established 
and so were rates for the Dixon ferry. 

TA'S^Rig' RATES 

For each meal of ^actuals 371/2 cents 

For keeping each horse one "knight," to 

hay and grain 50 cents 

For each lodging 25 cents 

For each dn'uk of spirituous liquor 12l/> cents 



56 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

EOCK RIVER FERRY RATES 

For each yoke of oxen aud wagon $ .75 

For each additional yoke of oxen 25 

For two horses and wagon 75 

For each additional horse 121/2 

For each two horse pleasure carriage 1.00 

For each man and horse 25 

For each footman I2V2 

For one horse and wagon 371/^ 

For each horse and gig 50 

For each horse or ass ^'^V2 

For each head of cattle O6I4 

For each head of sheep or hogs O6I4 

At this same very important meeting the commissioners 
"Ordered, That, on the second Monday in June next, such portion 
of the section of land on which the county stake is stuck, be sold at 
public auction for the benefit of Ogle county; the portion to be 
sold to be hereafter desig-nated by the county commissioners." 
Another important order was made, to-wit: for the election of 
justices aud constables on April 12th, following. 

In Dixon, Benjamin H. Steward (30 votes) and John Morse 
(29 votes) were elected constables. 

In the Inlet precinct, Daniel M. Dewey was elected jiastice of 
the peace (17 votes), and Charles West was elected constable (17 
votes), and from a history of Ogle county which speaks plainly, 
we are told : "Justice Dewey, Constable West, Adolphus Bliss (of 
the old Travelers' Home), his wife, Hannah, and a few others of 
their gang, because of their 'close' connection and secret and sus- 
picious ways of transacting public and jirivate business, came to be 
known to the pioneers as 'Dewey, West & Co.' " 

On March 8, 1S37, the commissioners adjourned to meet at 
Grand de Tour (so spelled). June 6, 1837. 

At an election held in Dixon, June 10, 1837, two justices and two 
constables were elected: Samiiel C. McClure received 31 votes for 
justice. TIdrace Th()ui]»s(ni 19 votes, aud E. W. Covell 1 vote. For 
constable. Daniel B. INfcKenney received 35 votes, Samuel Leonard 
10 votes, and S. Britton 1 vote. 

The n(>xt, an extra session, was held at Dixon, July 29, 1837, 
and at it. the y)etition was approved, asking that no license be 
granted for the sale of liquor in Dixon. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 57 

"Ordered, That the clerk shall not grant to any person or per- 
sons, license to keep grocery in the town of Dixon. ' ' Our tirst dry 
pei'iod in Dixon ! Though by reference to the list of indictments 
returned at the first term of the Lee circiut court, for selling with- 
out license, it will be guessed that liquor was to be had. 

The county officers made but little in those days: Smith Gil- 
braith's fees amounted to $8.87; his records, stationery, etc., $8.50, 
and this account was the first one presented against the county of 
Ogle. The next session was held at Buffalo Grove, Sept. 4, 1837. 
Meantime, in August, under the law. Smith Gilbraith had been 
elected county clerk; his bond for $L000 with Cyrus Chamberlain 
as surety, was approved. At this session, this very important order 
was made by the commissioners: "Ordered, That the clerk inform 
all the county officers and the judge of the circuit court, that Dixon 
has been selected as the place of holding courts until August, 1838." 

The next, December, session was held in Dixon. 

At the March. 1838, session, the Dixon ferry was assessed a tax 
of $30, which was larger by 100 \K'y cent than any other of the seven 
ferries in the coimty; the ferry chaiges too were revised at this 
session moderately, by adding to the lists of vehicles, sleighs. Some 
more minor changes were made too. So one may see how migratory 
the place of holding the county commissioners' court had been. 
The ])resent board was determined to remain away from Oiegon. 
During all this time, the commissioners had met but once at the 
house of John Phelps and that was the first time. 

To criticise and question the motives of the first commissioners, 
did no good and so the friends of other settlements determined to 
seek relief by carving a new county out of Ogle. This information 
was not known generally and so in August, 1838, when under the 
new law three new commissioners were to be elected, Dixon made 
no opposition to the efforts of Oregon to elect them. Messrs. Mar- 
tin Reynolds, Jacob Parry and Masten Williams, all partisans of 
Oregon, were elected. They met in Dixon, in special session, 
August 30th, and ordered that the October term, 1838, of the circuit 
court, be held at Dixon ; after that, at the house of John Phelps, 
Oregon City, and that the county court be held thereafter at the 
house of John Phelps. 

But when news reached Oregon City that Dixon had been per- 
mitted even that small concession, its withdrawal was demanded 
the very minute the commissioners met at Oregon. Accordingly 
we find that in September, the order was revoked so far as Dixon 
was concerned, and the October term, 1838, was ordered to be held 



58 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

in Oregon, although as a matter of fact, it was not. A climax had 
been reached. Peaceful men had tired of waging warfare and of 
lighting uut the controversies. The feud had extended to include 
members of the family, the women and the children. The story 
is told to the effect that one day John Phelps had to come to Dixon 
on business. Father Dixon kept the only tavern in the place. 
Phelps was himgry. F'ather Dixon was absent, but just the same, 
Phelps did not want to enter ; but he had to. During the meal, 
Mrs. Dixon is reported as remarking to Phelps: "It is a good 
thing for you, Mr. Phelps, that Mr. Dixon is not home today, for 
if he was, you would get hurt. There would be a fuss." 

To which Phelps is reported as rephdng, "It is a good thing 
for Mr. Dixon, madam, that he is not at home, for if he was, he 
surely would be hurt. I was born in a fuss, and nothing pleases 
me better than to Ix' engaged in a fuss." There may be consider- 
able improbability about this story, but as a matter of fact the 
climax which brought matters to a focus, was enacted in Galena 
when Phelps while in Galena, discovered the plans of Mr. Dixon, 
by reading a notice posted to the effect that at the next session of 
the Legislature, a lull would be introduced for the formation of a 
new count}' which would include Oregon on its northernmost line. 
Immediately, Phelps posted othei' notices to the effect that at the 
next meeting of the Legislature he would apply for a division of 
the couuty whose south line would include Dixon on its extreme 
southern limit. 

At once, Mr. Dixon sought Phelps and the agreement was made 
that an equitable division shoidd be made which would give to 
Oregon the county seat of Ogle and to Dixon the county seat of the 
new county. 



CHAPTER V 

ORGANIZATION OF LEE COUNTY 

The first aud only term of court for Ogle eoimt}' held while 
joined with Lee, was held in Dixon as we have seen, in September, 
1837. Jndge Dan Stone presided. He appointed Thomas Poi'd to 
act as state's attorney, and the first term (d' court Avas licld in the 
blacksmith shop of James Wilson, which by that time had its tioor 
laid. Notwithstanding the amicable arrangement made by Jolm 
Dixon and 'Mr. Ph(dps of Oregon City, certain disgrimtled locali- 
ties, notably Buffalo Grove, excejded to it in the fear that in the 
expansion of Dixon, certain to follow on the heels of its selection as 
county seat, Buffalo Gi'ove as a Aillage must decline inevitably. 
Some of Grand Detoiir feared the same results, and so we find the 
first locality opposing the arrangement strenuously. 

To piush this bill through the Legislature, Frederick R. Dutcher 
was selected by the people of Dixon. To oppose it, Virgil A. Bogue 
of Buffalo Grove was selected. Both went to Yaudalia prepared 
to tiglit. The remonstrance which Judge Bogue expected to use 
against the bill was left behind to l)e signed more liberally; when 
the desired number of signatures had been obtained, it was then to 
be mailed to him at Vandalia. Everything being th( >roughly luider- 
stood, the judge rested secure in the belief that he would defeat the 
bill. 

The change from Buffalo Grove to Vandalia diet disagreed 
with the judge, and for a cou])le of days lie remained indoors to 
nurse his indisposition. 

Meantime Mr. Dutcher called at the postoffice to secure for his 
friend, the judge, the latter 's mail. At the first visit the remon- 
strance came and Mr. Dutehoi' ])ut it away where it never l)othered 
the Legislature afterwards. 

The judge recovered, but his I'emonstrance did not reach hiin. 
Nothing but his eloquence remained and that he proposed to use 
in the lobby with unexampled persuasiveness. 

59 



60 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

But here again, Mr. Dutcher circumvented the effects of the 
judge's eloquence in a most effectual manner. The vast majority 
of the legislators hated abolitionists. The judge was an uncompro- 
mising abolitionist and like Owen Love joy, he was not afraid to 
say so. Dutcher knew this and so he got Bogue to make a public 
abolition speech, which many members of the Legislature listened 
to, his friend Dutcher among the mmiber. It was so much of a 
masterpiece that when the bill came up it jJ^^ssed almost unani- 
mously, and was approved Feb. 27, 1839. Now, pray do not claim 
for the present generation a monopoly of wit in political schemes! 

Frederick R. Dutcher named this county Lee, in honor of Light 
Horse Harry Lee of Revolutionary fame and a national hero of 
Mr. Dutcher 's. Thus after many stoimy scenes Lee county, as a 
separate ^nd a legal status, Avas pi-epared to act. D. G. Salisbury, 
E. H. Nichols and L. G. Butler from varioiis parts of the state 
were appointed by the act to act as commissioners to locate a county 
seat. On May 31, 1839, they selected Dixon. Following is their 
report : 

"The undersigned, commissioners appointed by the act creat- 
ing the county of Lee, approved Feb. 27, 1839, having been duly 
sworn and after due examination, having due regard to the settle- 
ments and the convenience of the present and future population 
of said coimty of Lee, do hereby locate the seat of justice for the 
aforesaid county of Lee at the town of Dixon, and have stuck the 
stake for the place, or point, at which the pul)lic buildings shall be 
erected, on the quarter section composed of the west half of the 
northwest quarter of section 4, township 21, range 9, east of the 
fourth principal meridian, and the east half of the northeast quar- 
ter of section 5, same township and range aforesaid. 

"And we further report, that, the proprietors and owners of 
lots in the aforesaid town of Dixon have executed certain bonds 
guaranteeing the payment of the sum of $6,460, which is exclusive 
of $1,050, signed by Messrs. Gilbraith, Wilkinson and Dement, 
which is embraced and included in a bond of $3,000 and included 
above. Also one bond for a deed of eighty acres of land adjoining 
the said town of Dixon. 

"All of which is respectfully submitted to the county commis- 
sioners' court of Tice coimty. 

' "D. G. Salisbury, [vSeal] 
"Ethan H. Nichols, [Seal] 
"L. n. BuTLEE, [Seal] 

' ' Commissioners. ' ' 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 61 

It was to be expected tliat Dixon would be selected. Never- 
theless, a feeling of relief was felt and expressed at the release of 
the people from future political quarrels over county seat affairs. 
The act creating the county fixed the time for an election of 
county commissioners on the first Monday of August, 1839, at 
which Charles F. Ingals of Inlet, Nathan R. Whitney of Fh'anklin 
Grove and James P. Dixon of Dixon were elected our first county 
commissioners. In the absence of a courthouse, the first school- 
house was selected in which to hold the first session of what then 
was denominated the county commissioners' court. 

Odd dates figured conspicuously in the early affairs of Lee 
county. On Friday, the 13th of September, Lee county began 
business, and who shall say she ever has met an unlucky or uni^ro- 
pitious minute ! And who shall say she has failed to keep pace in 
the race with her 101 sister counties! 

Isaac Boardman was elected clerk of the county commissioners' 
court ; Aaron Wakeley, sheriff ; Joseph Crawford, surveyor ; Har- 
• vey Morgan, probate justice or judge, and G. W. Chase, recorder. 
Instead of the present townshiiD and board of supervisors style 
adopted in 1850, the older method of coimty administration by 
three county commissioners, acting as a court, prevailed. 

At this first term of the comity commissioner's court, the terms 
of office of the commissioners were settled as follows : Mr. Ingals, 
three years; Mr. Dixon, two years, and Mr. Whitney, one year. 
Mr. Dixon was not present during the first session. He qualified 
Sept. 30, 1839. 

The commissioner's per diem was $2.50. 

The first business of the commissioners was to lay off Lee county 
into election precincts: 

No. One was known as Gap Grove precinct and it comprised 
the territory known today as the township of Palmyra. 

No. Two was called Dixon. 

Precinct No. Three was called Franklin. 

Precinct No. Four was called Melugin. 

Precinct No. Five was called Inlet. 

Precinct No. Six was called Winnebago and it took in the 
territory now comprising Marion, East Grove, Hamilton and 
Harmon. 

The house of William Martin was selected for the polling place 
in Gap Grove precinct and William Martin, Thomas .T. Harris 
and William Johnson were appointed judges of election. For 
precinct two, the polling place was fixed at the schoolhouse in . 



62 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Dixou and the judges of electiou appointed were James Santee, 
Samuel M. Bowman and Thomas ]\icCabe. For precinct three, 
the house of Jeremiah AVhipple was selected for a polling place 
and for judges, Cyrus Chamberlain, Jeremiah Whijjple and Don 
Cooper were selected. For precinct four, the Melugin school- 
house was selected for a polling place and for judges of election, 
David A. Town, Zacliariah jNIelugin and John K. Robison were 
appointed. F^or prec-inct live, Inlet, the house of Benjamin Whit- 
aker was made the ijolling place for elections, and Daniel M. 
Dewej', Da^■id Frost and Asa B. Searles were appointed judges. 
For the sixth precinct, the house of Da^-id Welty was selected as 
the polling place and for judges, David Welty, Henry W. Bogar- 
dus and Nathan B. Meek were appointed. 

Then as now the subject of better roads was one of paramount 
importance and we find the records of the county commissioners' 
court which had jnrisdiction of the subject, flooded with petitions 
to review and relocate I'oads and parts of roads and to view and 
locate new roads. The first road to come iip for consideration 
before the court was (me leading from Dixon's Ferry to Bush's 
Ferry, down stream a couple of miles. One sliould believe that 
with the orders the couuuissioncrs gave, it should not have required 
any order, because invarial)l\', e\ery order to comply with the 
petition was acconipauied with a reser-^-atiou to the effect that 
the county was to be put to no expense save the surveyor's fees, 
and in those cases the record generally showed that somebody 
deposited them in the count.v treasury, five dollars, to pay the 
surveyoi-, conditioned that the same should be repaid if not used. 

The next petition to review and relocate a road was brought in 
on the same day and asked to relocate the road from Dixon's 
Ferry to the house of Cyrus Chamberlain. In this case William 
P. Bui'rows deposited the .^^5. But next c-Amc a pretty big job for 
so voiiiiL; a county. It was desii-ed to re-view and relocate the 
road running from the ferry to Clea\-elaud's turnpike, and from 
thence via the west end of East Grove to the south end of Lee 
county. To do tliis job, S. M. Bowman, David Welty and Henry 
W. Bogardns were appointed coninnssioners. Later it was 
ordered that an election he held in each of tlie six precincts to 
elect, on Xoxcniber It li. two justices of the ])eace and two constables 
in each ]ii-ccinc1. IJunning on down I foinid one vei'v important 
item in ilie history of Ijce county. Should the dafc^ gruli desire to 
know file date (d' the first cii-cus held in I^ee county, it was Re]~it. 17, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 63 

1839, and for the privilege of hokliug it tlie circus vt Howe and 
Sons paid into the Lee county treasury tlie sum of $10. 

Few of ,you know what a l^eel boat was. It was the popular 
river boat for many long and weary years and was not superseded 
until the steamboat a^^peared. In point of form it resembled very 
much the canal boat. All ai'ound the top of the bulwarks a plat- 
form was built, along which the crew walked forward and back- 
wards with their long poles with which the boat was projielled. 
The poles did a good jvh while going down stream or while float- 
ing upon the surface of quiet waters, Iwt while trying to liiake 
headway against the wind or the curiTut. the task was nothing 
short of fearful. The crew were forced to go ashore with a long 
rope, tie the rope to a tree on the l)ank and then by bull strength 
one relay would pull the I'opes and another would catch and hold 
the gain l^y lla^•ing the rope wound round the tree tightl,y enough 
to prevent any "give." This was called cordelling. If no trees 
appeared along the banks, then the crew were compelled to make 
for the shore and wade in the shallow water and pull the boat 
along by means of ropes. A sail was used in most instances, but 
the boats were so clumsy that sails afforded very little assistance. 
Keel boat crews were noted for their ])rutality — not to passengers 
■ — and for their boat songs, sung too while in the act of their most 
slavish duties. But to ap})ly the case to Lee county : On the pay- 
ment of $5, Andrews and McMasters were granted by the board 
of commissioners, the privilege of selling merchandise on board 
their keel boat in said Lee county imtil the end of the next temi 
of the county commissioners' court, "about Oct. 13, 1839." 

On Oct. 2, 1839, the report of the commissioners locating the 
county seat at Dixon was ordered approved and spread on the 
records. 

riEST COTTRTHOTTSE AXD .JAIL 

On Dec. 2, 1839, plans for a courthouse and jail were taken up 
and considered; Gonnnissioner Dixon was absent that day. 

Messi's. Carpenter and Davy were employed to draft further 
plans for the courthouse. 

On Dec. 26, the clerk was ordered to make out s]iecifications 
for building a courthouse and jail. On the next day the clerk sub- 
mitted them ; the courthouse nnist lie of stone or brick and the jail 
of stone and timber. They were accepted and filed, and the clerk 
was ordered to advertise for sealed proposals, to be opened Jan. 



64 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

6, 1840. On that date the clerk was ordered to procure plans for 
jail, to correspond with specifications, and the time to contractors 
was extended one day when Gyrus E. Miner was paid $3 for draw- 
ing draft of courthouse roof. This was the great day of days for 
Dixon. The bids were opened; l)ut they must have been insuffi- 
cient because the board at once ordered that S. M. Bowman and 
Smith Gilbraith and John Van Armah be communicated with 
regarding their price for doing certain work not included in the 
specifications. 

Bids could not have been numerous. Zenas Aplington, of 
Buffalo Grove, and G. G. Holbrook secured the contract for build- 
ing the jail, for the sum of $1,495, and for the faithful observance 
of the contract bond was required. 

Samuel M. Bowman was given the contract for building the 
courthouse for the stipulated price, $6,800, and for the extras not 
included in the original specifications, he was to receive $450. 
Bond was to be executed. 

And right here in the midst of all this joy of expansion comes 
the first official recoi'd we have of a death in the new county. On 
this same day, Christoi)lier Brookner was ordered paid the sum of 
$9 for making a coffin in which to bury Daniel Bremridge, a county 
charge. Nine dollars! ( Compare that with the price of a modern 
eqviipment in which to be ferried over the Styx! 

A study of the struggles of Dixon, a little frontier outpost, to 
secure the county seat and then to provide funds with which to 
build the county buildings, fui-nishes a story of energy and pluck 
to be found only in a young and unconquerable comnnmity. Money 
was scarce in 1839 — frightfully scarce. The efi:'ects of the 1837 
panic wei-e still hovering over the coinitry. The Internal Improve- 
ment, after I'uining the state, had collapsed. The people were 
generous but poor, and yet in ordei- to secui'e county buildings for 
comity uses, which should be ])aid for by all those who were to 
enjoy their benefits, the little village of Dixon was required by the 
act of the Legislature and the action of the commissioners in 
selecting Dixon, to provide a block or square of ground upon which 
to locate the courthouse and to provide money to build that court- 
house, and a county jail as well. 

If will be noticed by the report of those commissioners, that 
the block' of ground hnd been ofl'ered (by John Dixon). It also 
will be noticed by their report that eighty acres of land adjoining 
the town plat had l)een secured. John Dixon added that to his 
contribution. It also will be noticed that Messrs. Smith Gilbraith. 




COURT HOUSE, DIXON 




LEE COUNTY'S SECOND OiUKT HOUSE 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 65 

Wilkinsou and Dement, (not John nor Charles Dement) guar- 
anteed by bond to. pay $1,050. Others guaranteed by bond, the 
smn of $6,460, and it also will be noticed that another bond of 
$3,000, less the one of Gilbraith, et al., of $1,050, was required as the 
sine qua non for settling the C( )unty seat in Dixon. 

And so the newly elected county commissioners proceeded to 
build the hrst county buildings of Lee county. 

The first jurors, grand and petit, for the first term of the 
circuit court, were selected at this time and their names are : 
Grand Jurors, William Martin, Noah Bedee, Reuben Eastwood, 
John H. Page, Oscar P. Ayres, Elijah Bowman, John Brown, 
Thomas McCabe, Cyrus Chamberlain, Cyrus R. Miner, Erastus 
DeWolf, David H. Birdsall, George E. Haskell, Daniel M. Dewey, 
Daniel Baird, James Blair, Joseph P. Al^bott, Peter T. Scott, 
Nathan B. Meek, John Wilson, Zachariah Melugin, John K. Robi- 
son and Jacob Kipling. 

The first petit jurors, and they were drawn for the April term, 
1840, were Oliver Hubbard, Simon Pellows, Jonas M. Johuson, 
Benjamin H. Steward, William P. Bradshaw, Hiiam Parks, 
Jeremiah Murphy, Josiah Mooers, Charles Edson, Joseph Craw- 
ford, Samuel C. McClure, John Chambei'lain, Edward Morgan, 
Amos Hussey, Daniel Frost, John "Done," Richard P. Adams, 
Sylvanus Peterson, Asa B. Searls, R. B. Allen, William Guthrie, 
John Gilmore, David Welt.y and James S. Bell. 

Prom the records in the same office it may be interesting to 
know the movements of little Cupid in this new and expaiisive 
county of Lee! The first three mariiage licenses prociued in the 
new county, in their order, are Sept. 24, 1839, Gustavus Witz- 
ler and Louisa Dombach, who were married Oct. 10 by Smith 
Gilbraith, and the license was registered with the clerk Oct. 16. 
Thus the German was the first to get a new license in the new 
county and the thi'ifty German has been coming to this county and 
he has been growing into fatherhood and grandfatherhood ever 
since and to those same Germans the county is under lasting 
obligations. But Mi-. Witzler was not the first bridegroom. The 
second man to get the license beat him: On Oct. 3, 1839, William 
Hopps (uncle of Clyde Smith of Dixon), who obtained license 
niunber two, was the first to wed, so the record says. He and Miss 
Martha Smith were married by Rev. Charles Morris, minister of 
the gospel, Oct. 5, and his license was re.gistered Oct. 9. The third 
to procure a license was Henry W. Cleaveland, who was married 



66 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

to Rowena Smith, Oct. 23, by Rev. James De Pui, an Episcopal 
clergyman, who established the first Episcopal church in Dixon. 
The license was registered Nov. lU, lbo9. 



LEE county's CHAKTEE 

Session Laws Eleventh General Assembly, Page 170 

An Act to create the county of Lee from the county of Ogle. 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, 
represented in the General Assembly, That all that part of Ogle 
county lying south of a line beginning on the western boundary of 
Ogle county at the northwest corner of section eighteen, in town- 
ship twenty-two, north, of range eight, east of the fourth j)rincipal 
meridian; thence, on the section line between sections numbered 
seven and eighteen, in said township, east, to the main channel of 
Rock river; thence up the center of the main channel of Rock 
river, to the section line between sections twelve and thirteen, in 
township twenty-two, north, of range nine, east of the fourth 
piineipal meridian; thence, east with the last mentioned section 
line, to the northeast corner of section seventeen, in township 
twenty-two, north, of range ten, east of the fourth principal 
meridian ; thence, south, to the southeast corner of the last men- 
tioned section; and tlience, east, with the section lines, to the 
eastern boundary of the county, shall constitute the county of Lee. 

Sec. 2. That Lorin G. Butler of Cook county, E. H. Nichols, 
of Whiteside c(»unty, and 1). G. Salsbury of the county of Bureau, 
be and they are hercliy, appointed conmiissioners to locate the seat 
of justice for said county of Lee; and said commissioners, or a 
majority of them, shall meet at the town of Dixon, on the first 
Monday in JNIay next, or as soon thereafter as may be, and, after 
being duly (lualified before some justice of the peace faithfully to 
perform the duties re(|uir('d of them l)y this act, shall proceed to 
locate and esta1)lish the permanent scat of justice of said county 
of Ijce, having due regai-d to the settlements and the convenience 
of the present and future po])ulation of said county, and when so 
located, sliall l»c and remain the ]i('ruiauent seat of justice. 

Sec. :*>. If said seat of justice shall be located on lands which 
liaxc been laid off info town lots, the owners or proprietors of the 
same shall donate and convey unto the county commissioners of 
said coiniix' of rjcc, and tlicir successors in office, for the use and 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 67 

benefit of said county, necessary land on wliicli to erect public 
buildings, wliicli shall be erected thereon; and shall enter into 
bonds, with approved security, to the county commissioners, and 
their successors in office, for the use and benefit of said county, to 
pay the sum of three thousand five hundred dollars, in three equal 
installments, one-third in three months, one-tlurd in nine months, 
and the remaining third in fifteen months, from the time of said 
location. And if the eovmty seat shall be located on lands claimed 
by any individual, not laid off into town lots, the owner or pro- 
prietor shall donate unto the county, as aforesaid, at least twenty 
acres of land, on which public buildings shall be erected, or enter 
into bonds to the county commissioners in such sums and con- 
ditions as is required if the same shall be located on lands laid off 
into town lots. And all moneys accruing from the sale of an}- lands 
which may be donated to said county, or may be received on said 
bonds, shall be appropriated to the erection of a suitable court 
house and jail. And, until pu])lic buildings are erected, the several 
coiu'ts of the counties of Ogle and Lee shall be held at such place, 
in their respective county seats, as the county conunissioners shall 
direct. 

Sec. 4. The citizens of the count.v hereby created are entitled, 
in all respects, to the same rights and privileges as are allowed in 
general to other counties in this state. 

Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the county com- 
missioners' court of Ogle county to order an election to be licld in 
the several precincts in the county of Lee; which order shall be 
directed to the judges of election in the several precincts in said 
county of Lee established by the county commissioners' court of 
Ogle county, to be held at the several places of holding elections in 
the several precincts, for the election of county officers for the 
county of Lee ; which election shall he held on the first Monday 
in August next, and shall be conducted in all respects agreeably 
to the provisions of the law I'egulating elections. 

Sec. 6. It shall be the duty of the judges of the election so 
ordered to make returns thereof to the clerk of the county com- 
missioners' court of Ogle comity, who shall, together with two 
justices of the peace, proceed to canvass all the votes taken in 
the county of Lee, and shall deliver their certificate to each officer 
so elected; and shall also delivei- to the clerk of Lee c^ounty, so 
soon as he shall have been qualified, all the poll-books of said 
election, whose dutv it shall be to forward an abstract to the 



68 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Secretary of State, in such manner and form as is required in 
otlier counties in tliis state. The county of Lee, hereby created, 
shall continue to form a part of the county of Ogle until after 
said election, as is above provided ; and the county commissioners 
so elected shall be qualitied. 

Sec. 7. The county coimnissioners elected under this act shall 
meet at the town of Dixon, within five days after receiving certifi- 
cates of election, and shall qualify by delivering the proper oath 
to each other; and shall require their clerk, so elected, to enter 
into bond and take the oath of office as is required by law. It 
shall then be the duty of said clerk to ascertain by lot, the term 
each of said commissioners shall serve, according to the provisions 
of an act, entitled "An act to amend an act, entitled 'An act estab- 
lishing courts of county commissioners,' " passed March 22, 1819. 

Sec. 8. The county of Lee hereby created shall vote with Jo 
Daviess county for Senators and Representatives until the next 
apportionment. 

Sec. 9. The commissioners appointed by this act to locate the 
seat of justice in the county of Lee shall receive two dollars per 
day for each and every day necessarily spent in discharging the 
duties thereof, to be paid out of the county treasury. 

Approved, Feb. 27, 1839. 

LIST OF ALL PLATS OF ORIGIN^ AL >'1LLAGES, LAID OUT IN LEE COUNTY 

By Ira W. Lewis 

Acielheid was laid out Jime 19, 1896, by the Anglo-Swiss Con- 
densed Co. 

Amboy, The Town of was laid out March 27, 1854, by Hiram 
Ketchmn and George W. Gray, trustees of the owners of the land. 

Binghampton, The Town of, was laid out May 16, 1848, by Asa 
B. Searls and Warren Badger, proprietors. 

Brooklyn, The Town of, was laid out Aug. 26, 1872, by 0. P. 
Johnson, D. L. Harris and R. N. Woods, proprietors. 

Carnahan, The Town of, was laid out June 19, 1873, by A. J. 
Carnnhan. proprietor. 

Chaplin, The Town of. was laid out May 3, 1853, by Christian 
Lahman and Silas P. Tollman. 

Compton, The Town of, was laid out May 8, 1873, by Joel 
Compton. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 69 

Coventry was laid out Nov. 13, 1841, by Smith Gilbraitli, up- 
on parts of sections 35 and 36, T. 22, R. 8 (Palmyra). 

Dixon, The Towti of, was laid out Oct. 28, 1840, by John Dixon, 
Smith Gilbraith, William Wilkinson and Bowman & Lane. 

Eldena was laid out July 10, 18(33, by the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Co. 

Franklin Grove, The Town of, was laid out May 8, 1854, by 
Thomas D. Robertson and Christian Lahman. 

Harmon, The Town of, was laid out May 15, 1872, by D. H, 
Wicker, J. S. Meckling, Alonzo Kinyou and C. G. Wicker. 

Lee, The Town of, was laid out Aug. 19, 1872, by Francis E. 
Hinckley and John Kennedy. 

Lee Center, The Town of, was laid out Nov. 23, 1854, by Luke 
Hitchcock and Charles I. Hitchcock. 

JVIiddleboro was laid out Nov. 1, 1911, on part of sections 23 
and 24 Bradford, by John W. Weishaar and Henry Weishaar. 

Nachusa, The Town of, was laid out March 1, 1855, by A. P. 
Dysart and George Baugh. 

Nelson, The Town of, was laid out Dec. 22, 1862, by Willard S. 
Pope and Samuel Nelson. 

Ogle, The Town of (now Ashton), was laid out May 9, 1853, by 
E. B. Stiles and Thomas D. Robertson. 

Oporto (no plat or survey recorded), two lots known as "Log 
House Lot" and "Frame House Lot." This "speculator's plat" 
was recorded in Jo Daviess county. It embraced lands between 
the I. C. R. R. and North Dixon on each side of the Palmyra road. 

Palestine, The Town of, was laid out May 10, 1854, by Rhoda 
E. Hook, on S. W. 14 of S. E. i^ Sec. 21, T. 20, R. 10 ^Amboy 
township). 

Prairieville was laid out April 10, 1858, by Abijah Powers, 
in Palmyra township. 

Paw Paw Grove, Village of, was laid out Aug. 1, 1871. 

Scarboro, Village of, was laid out on part of S. W. i/4 Sec. 8, 
T. 38, R. 2 (Willow Creek township), by Lewis G. Durin. 

Shaw, The Town of, was laid out Oct. 24, 1878, by Sherman 
Shaw. 

Shelburn (North Shelburn and South Shelburn) was laid out 
April 25, 1847. 

Steward, The Town of, was laid out Nov. 30, 1872, by Wesley 
Steward. 

Sublette, The Town of, was laid out May 8, 1855, by the Illinois 
Central Railroad Co. 



70 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

SwissviUe was laid out June 23, 1892, in part N. i/o S. W. 14 
Sec. 32, T. 22, R. 9, by George II. Page. 

Van Petten was laid out Sept. 3, 1901, ou part of S. V- Sec. 19, 
T. 20, R. 8 (Hannan township), l)y A. G. Van Petten. 

Walton, The Town of, was laid out in part of sections 14 and 
15, jNIarion township, May 4, 1878, by Pryee Jones. 

COUNTY OFFICERS 

Following is the list of county officers (including circuit 
judges) from the organization of the county to date: 

Coroners— Samuel Johnson, 1839-41; John Lord, 1841-48; 
Solomon Parker, 1848-50; James Goble, 1850-54; Daniel B. Mc- 
Kenney, 1854-56; H. O. Kelsey, 1856-64; James Hatch, 1864-66; 
Harvey Barrell, 1866-70 ; A. E. Wilcox, 1870-78 ; John C. Church, 
1878-88 ; William B. Andruss, 1888-96, died in office ; Charles T. 
Smith, 1899-1912; George B. Stephan, 1912, present incumbent. 
Surveyors — Joseph Crawford, 1839-44; Setli H. Whitmore, 
1844-46 ; S. Parker, in 1846 ; C. Camp, 1846-49 ; Joseph Crawford, 
1849-55; A. W. Tinkham, 1855-57; Milton Santee, 1857-61; K. F. 
Booth, 1861-63 ; William B. Andruss, 1863-65; C. B. Hall, 1865-67; 
William McMahan, 1867-82, resigned Oct. 1, 1882; Henry E. 

.Wylie, 1882-88; Charles C. Jacolis, 1892-96; William McMahan, 
1896-1900; L. B. Neighbour, 1900-04; George C. Heritage, 1904, 
resigned 1906 ; L. B. Neighbour, 1906, to date. 

Superintendents of Schools — E. R. Mason to 1840; Joseph T. 
Little, 1840-43; Daniel B. McKenncy, 1843-46; Lorenzo Wood, 
1846-50; John V. Eustace, 1850-53; John Stevens, 1853-55; Simeon 
Wright, 1855-57; James A. Hawley, 1857-59; John Monroe, 
1859-61; W. H. Gardner, 1861-63"; Benjamin F. Atherton, 

.1863-65; James H. Preston, 18(i5-73; Daniel Carey, 1873-77; 
James H. Preston, 1877-82; Sanuiel J. Howe, 1882-86; P. M. 
James, 1886-90; Jay C. Edwards, 1890-94; I. F. Edwards, 1894- 
1910;L. W.Miller, 191 0-14. 

Sheriff's— Aaron Wakelee, 18:!9-41 ; Aaron L. Porter, 1841-42; 
James Cami)l)ell, 1842-48; James Golde, 1848-51 ; Aaron L. Porter, 
1851-53; Ozias Wheeler, 1853; William Butler, 1853-56; Ozias 
Wheeler, 1856-58; Lester Harding, 1858-60; Aaron L. Porter, 
1860-62; Charles P. Lynn, 1862-64; R. P. Treadwell, 1864-66; 
Truuinu L. Prntt. 1866-68; (icorgc ^r. Borkelev, 1868-76; Jona- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 71 

than N. Hills, 1876-80; Walter Little, 1880-82; Isaac Edwards, 
1882-86 ; W. H. Woodyatt, 1886-90 ; George Stainbrook, 1890-91 ; 
Josiah L. Gray, 1891-98 ; Michael J. McGowaii, 1898-1902 ; Charles 
W. Wohiike, 1902-06 ; A. T. Toiirtillott, 1906-10; Clarence P. Reid, 
1910-14. 

Treasurers — John Morse, 1840-43; Nathan Morehonse, 1843- 
46; S. Parker in 1846; W. W. Bethea, 1846-50; Elias B. Stiles, 
1850-57; Francis B. Little, 1857-59; Elias B. Stiles, 1859-63; 
Joseph T. Little, 1863-71; Josiah Little, 1871-75; Frederick A. 
Trnman, 1875-79; Josiah Little, 1879-86; Charles H. Hnghes, 
1886-90; Michael Maloney, 1890-94; Charles F. Welty, 1894-98; 
John M. Sterling, 1898-1902 ; Walter B. Merriman, 1902-06 ; John 
M. Sterling, 1906-10; Prank C. Vaughan, 1910-14. 

Recorders — For a time the office of recorder was a separate 
one. In 1850 it was united with the office of clerk of the circuit 
court. Michael Fellows, 1839-44; Edwin W. Hine, 1844-50. 

Circuit Clerks— George W. Chase, 1839-41 ; Charles T. Chase, 
1841-51; N. P. Porter in 1851; Isaac S. Boardman, 1851-57; 
George E. Haskell, 1857-59, resigned; Isaac S. Boardman, 
1859-60; Benjamin P. Shaw, 1860-68; Jonathan N. Hyde, 1868-76; 
Remingion Warriner, 1876 to July, 1882, died; Ira W. Lewis, 
appointed to fill vacancy, 1882-98; Arvene S. Hyde, 1898-1903, 
resigned ; Ira W. Lewis appointed 1903-04 ; William B. McMahau, 
1904, present clerk. 

County Clerks— Isaac S. Boardman, 1839-43; Charles T. 
Chase, 1843-49; J. B. Gregory, 1849-53; Thomas W. Eustace, 
1853-61 ; James A. Hawley, 1861-82 ; Charles H. Gardner, 1882-86 ; 
James H. Thompson, 1886-1902 ; William C. Thompson, 1902-14. 

County Judges— Harvey Morgan, 1839-43; O. A. Eddy, 
1843-47; Lorenzo Wood, 1847-53; David Welty, 1853-61; William 
W. DeWolf, 1861-69; John D. Crabtree, 1869-77; James B. 
Charters, 1877-82; Richaixl S. Parrand, 1882-1902, resigned, when 
he was made circuit judge; Robert H. Scott, Aug. 9, 1902, 
present iucmnbent. The first few judges were called probate 
judges, but when their jurisdiction was enlarged, the name was 
changed to coimty jiidge, whose duties ex officio included those of 
the probate judge. 

Circuit Judges— Dan Stone, 1837-40; Thomas C. Browne, 
1840-48; Benjamin R. Sheldon, 1848-51; I. B. Wilkinson, 1851-56; 
J. W. Drury in 1856; John V. Eustace, 1856-61; William W. 
Heaton, 1861-78, when he died; John V. Eustace 1878 to 1888, 



72 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

when he died; John D. Crabtree, 1888 to 1902, when he died; 
Richard S. Farrand, 1902, present incumbent. Of course it 
should be stated that there have been three judges from each cir- 
cuit since about 1875. But in this work it has been thought best 
to mention only those elected from Lee county. 

One a year of the comity commissioners retired and a suc- 
cessor was elected. In 1840, (leorge E. Haskell, was elected. In 
184L Joseph Crawford; 1842, O. F. Ayres; 1843, J. C. Morgan; 
1844, D. Baird; 1845, D. H. Birdsall; 1846, James Goble, to fill 
vacancy caused by death of Baird ; 1847, W. Badger ; 1848, Stephen 
Fuller, — to fill vacancy. 

state's attorney's office created 1870 

William E. Ives, 1872-76; Abalino C. Bardwell, 1876-80; 
Charles B. Morrison, 1880-96; Edward H. Brewster, 1896-1900; 
Charles H. Wooster, 1900-08; Harry Edwards, 1908, present 
incumbent. 

lee county officials, 1913-14 

County Officers — County judge, Robert H. Scott ; county clerk, 
William C. Thompson; county .treasurer, Frank C. Vaughan; 
state's attorney, Hari-y Edwards; sheriff, C. P. Reid; clerk circuit 
court and recorder, W. B. McMahan; superintendent of schools, 
L. W. Miller ; coroner, George B. Stephan ; county surveyor, L. B. 
Neighbour; master in chancery, A. C. Bardwell; superintendent 
of coimty home, C. L. Wicher; chairman board of supervisors, 
John J. Wagner. 

Clerks of Appellate Court — First district, Alfred R. Porter, 
Chicago; second district, C. C. Buffey, Ottawa; third district, W. 
C. Hippard, Springfield ; fourth district, A. C. Millspaugh, Mount 
Vei'uon. 

Supervisors elected in 1912 for two years — Bradford, John J. 
Wagner, Ashton; Dixon, Luther Burket, Chas. T. Self, Dixon; 
E. Grove, Ralph E. Hanson, Ohio ; Hamilton, Jos. Bauer, Harmon ; 
L. Center, Kyle Miller, West Brookhai: Marion, C. F. Welty, 
Amboy, R. 6; May, James Buckley, Amboy; Nelson, C. C. Bucka- 
loo, Dixon, R. 6; S. Dixon, P. L. Young, Dixon; Viola, U. Grant 
Dysart. West Brooklyn : W. Creek, John H. Grove, Lee. 

Elected in 1913 for two years — Alto, Morris Cook, Steward; 
Amboy, W. J. Edwards, Amboy; Ashton, Chas. Heibenthal, Ash- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ^ 73 

ton ; Brooklyn, John W. Banks, Compton ; China, C. Gross, Frank- 
lin Grove; Dixon, 0. B. Anderson, J. M. McCleary, Dixon; 
Harmon, E. J. Mannion, Harmon; Nachusa, F. G. Emmert, F. 
Grove, R. F. D. ; Palmyra, Jno. P. Drew, Dixon, R. 1 ; Reynolds, 
Chas. Ewald, Steward; Sublette, Wm. Brucker, Sublette; Wyo- 
ming, A. S. Wells, Paw Paw. 

Supervisors for 1913 — Alto, Morris Cook, Steward, term 
expires 1915 ; Amboy, W. J. Edwards, Amboy, 1915 ; Ashtou, Chas. 
Heibenthal, Ashton, 1915; Bradford, J. J. Wagner, Ashton, 1914; 
Brooklyn, Jno. W. Banks, Compton, 1915 ; China, Chris Gross, F. 
Grove, 1915; Dixon, O. B. Anderson, Dixon, 1915; Dixon, J. M. 
McCleary, Dixon, 1915 ; Dixon, Luther Burket, Dixon, 1914 ; Dixon 
Chas. T. Self, Dixon, 1914; E. Grove, Ralph E. Hanson, Ohio, 1914; 
Hamilton, Joseph Bauer, Harmon, 1914 ; Harmon, E. J. Mannion, 
Harmon, 1915; L. Center, Kyle C. Miller, W. Brooklyn, 19] 4; 
Marion, Chas. F. Welty, Amboy, 1914; May, James Buckley, 
Amboy, 1914; Nachusa, F. G. Emmert, F. Gi'ove, 1915; Nelson, 
C. C. Buckaloo, Dixon, 1914; Palmyra, Jno. P. Drew, Dixon, 1915; 
Reynolds, Chas. Ewald, Steward, 1915 ; S. Dixon, Frank L. Young, 
Dixon, 1914; Sublette, Wm. Brucker, Sublette, 1915; Viola. U. 
Grant Dysart, W. Brooklyn, 1914 ; W. Creek, Jno. H. Grove, liee, 
1914; Wyoming, A. S. Wells, Paw Paw, 1935. 

Standing Committees — Judiciary, Gross, Bauer, McCleary, 
Welty, Edwards ; finance, Dysart, Wells, Banks, Heibenthal, Drew; 
claims. Cook, Miller, Heibenthal, Hanson, Anderson ; county home, 
Wells, Emmert, Buckaloo, Drew, Self; pauper claims. Banks, 
Young, Edwards, Gross, Mannion; fees and salary, Buckaloo, 
McCleary, Banks, Welty, Ewald ; public buildings, Emmert, Grove, 
Dysart, Buckley, Anderson; contingent expense and purchasing, 
Drew, Heibenthal, Welty, Grove, Brucker; education. Self, Han- 
son, Bauer. Buckley, Ewald; town accounts. Young, Miller, 
Edwards, Burket, Mannion ; old soldiers. Grove, Cook, Heibenthal, 
Buckaloo, Brucker; printing, Bauer, McCleary, Gross, Hanson, 
Grove; roads and bridges, Buckley, Welty, Self, Burket, Ewald; 
ndes, Wagner, Cook. Dysart, Wells, Young; Grand DeTour bridge, 
Burket. 

Town Clerks— Alto, S. J. Whetston, Steward; Amboy, J. E. 
Lewis, Amboy; Ashton, Geo. B. Stephan, Ashton; Bradford, A. 
Aschenbrenner, Amboy, R. 2 ; Brooklyn, William Dishong, Comp- 
ton; China, A. B. Wicker, Franklin Grove; Dixon, W. V. E. Steel, 
DWon; E. Grove, Wesley Peach, Harmon; Hamilton, B. G. Reed, 



74 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Waluut ; Harmon, Jno. L. Porter, Harmon ; L. Center, P. L. Berry, 
Lee Center ; Marion, W. J . McCarty, Amboy ; May, J. G. Hall, Jr., 

A in hoy ; Nachusa, Geo. AVeyant, Xacliusa ; Nelson, Walter W. Gei- 
ger, Dixon, R. 6; Palmyra, H. M. Gilbert, Dixon, R. 1; Reynolds, 
Herman C. Conrad, Rocbelle; !S. Dixon, J. W. Cortright, Dixon, 
R. 5; Sublette, Paul Bieber, Sublette; Viola, Andrew Anderson, 
West Brooklyn; W. Creek, Geo. M. Herrmann, Steward; Wyo- 
ming, E. P. Fleming, Paw Paw. 

Assessors elected in 1912 for two years — Alto, A. J. Larson, 
Steward; Amboy, B. McCaffrey, Amboy; Asliton, S. T. Zeller, Sr., 
Asbton; Bradford, Cbas. W. Wagner, Franklin Grove, R. 2; 
Brooklyn, Cbas Stout, Compton ; Cbina, A. M. Carpenter, Frank- 
lin Grove; Dixon, J. A. Wliitisb, Dixon; E. Grove, Jobn McFad- 
den, Amboy ; Hamilton, W. E. Hopkins, Harmon ; Harmon, Geo. 
Smitb, Harmon ; L. Center, A. B. MeCrea, West Brooklyn, R. D. ; 
Marion, Thomas Halligan, Dixon; May, P. G. Tyrrell, Amboy; 
Nachusa, Geo. R. Emmert, Nachusa; Nelson, James B. Stitzel, 
Nelson; Palmyra, Wm. Lei van, Dixon, R. 1; Reynolds, Marcus 
Ventler, Ashton ; S. Dixon, Frank Siefkin, Dixon, R. 2 : Sublette, 
Andrew J. Lauer, Sublette; Viola, Julius Delhotel, West Brook- 
lyn; W. Creek, H. H. Risetter, Lee; Wyoming, Frank McBride, 
Paw Paw. 

Collectors elected in 1912 for two years — Alto, E. T. Corwin, 
Steward ; Amboy, Cbas. J. Kief er, Amboy ; Ashton, Fred O. Beach, 
Ashton; Bradford, Frank Mehlhausen, Ashton; Brooklyn, Wm. 
Wigum, West Brooklyn; China, Jesse ONeal, Franklin Grove; 
Dixon, Jonas Stultz, Dixon; E. Grove, Robert Smiley, Ohio; 
Hamilton, Sidney Haft'enden, Harmon; Harmon, W. H. Smith, 
Harmon; L. Center, A. J. Fuller, Amboy, R. 1).; Marion, John 
Finn, Amboy; May, John Minnich, Jr., Amboy; Nachusa, W. F. 
McCLannahan, Dixon, R. 5; Nelson, Chirence Buzard, Dixon, R. 6; 
Palmyra, H. F. Gilbert, Dixon, R. 1; Reynolds, Chas. E. Becker, 
Ashton; S. Dixon, V. D. McClannahan. Dixon, R. 2; Sublette, 
Norbert C. Michel, Sul)k'tte; Viola. L. F. Rees, Steward; W. 
Creek, Vernon Noyes, Lee ; Wyoming, Fred Lilly, Paw Paw. 

Conunissioners of Highways — Alto, J. H. Walker, Steward, 
term expires 1914; B. (Chambers, Steward, R. 1, 1915; I. Peter- 
son, Steward, R. 2, 191(5. Amboy, G M. Finch, Amboy, 1914; J. I. 
Thompson, Amboy, 1915; W. P. Long, Amboy, 191G. Ashton, 
C. W. liowers, Ashton, 1914; II. W. Reitz, Ashton, 1915; E. J. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 75 

Howey, Asliton, 191(i. Bradford, C. Wagiier, Aslitou, 1914 ; Adam 
Wendal, Fraiikliu Grove, R. 2, 1915 ; H. AVeishaar, Ashtou, R. 1, 
1916. Brooklyn, M. E. Beemer, Comptoii, 1914; Wiu. A. Dew, 
West Brooklyn, 1915; A. Melilbrecb, Compton, 191G. China, Eli 
G. Hull, Eranklin Grove, 1914; Clias. Seebach, Aniboy, 1915; G. 
H. Kreger, Eranklin Grove, 1916. Dixon, W. H. Lenox, Dixon, 
1914; T. E. Rosbrook, Dixon, 1915; E. W. Eisber, Dixon, 1916. 
E. Grove, C. B. Rogers, Walnut, 1914; E. Eriel, Aniboy, 1915; 
G. H. Renter, Amboy, 1916. Hamilton, P. L. Pope, Walnut, 1914; 
H. McDermott, Harmon, 1915 ; Denis Eoley, Harmon, 1916. Har- 
mon, A. C. Cla}'Avortby, Harmon, 1914; E. E. Smallwood, Harmon, 
1915 ; John Wolf, Harmon, 1916. L. Center, G. P. Miller, West 
Brooklyn, 1934; Clem Miller, Aniboy, R. I)., 1915; H. Herrick, 
Lee Center, 1916. Marion, H. Blackburn, Amboy, 1914 ; B. Bush- 
man, Dixon, 1915 ; James ^McCoy, Amboy, R. 5, 1916. May, Ervin 
Groth, Amboy, 1914; John Eisher, Amboy, 1915; Chas. McEad- 
den, Aniboy, 1936. Nacliusa, G. H. Killmer, Amboy, R. 5, 1914; 
J. Eeldkirsclmer, Dixon, R. 4, 1915; E. D. Weigle, Nachusa, 1916. 
Nelson, J. T. Emmitt, Rock Falls, 1914 ; G. S. Ranson, Dixon, R. 6, 
1915; T. F. Drew, Dixon, R. 6, 1916. Palmyra, E. LancUs, Dixon, 
R. L 1914; J. W. Lawton, Dixon, R. 1, 1915 ; F. W. Brauer, Dixon, 
R. 7, 1916. Reynolds, N. Schanoberg, Ashton, 1914; L. B. Miller, 
West Brooldyn, 1915; G. Zimmerman, Steward, 1916. S. Dixon, 
J. P. Brechon, Dixon, R. 8, 1914; W. H. Remmers, Dixon, 1915; 
Peter Hoyle, Dixon, 1916. Sublette, B. H. Full, Sublette, 1914; 
Otto Koehler, Sublette, 1915; G. Stephenitch, Sublette, 1916. 
Viola, E. E. Halsey, West Brooklyn, 1914; E. H. Ellsworth, W^est 
Brooklyn, 1915 ; August Gehant, West Brooklyn, 1916. W. Creek, 
L. Heckman, Paw Paw, 1914; O. L. Hillison, Lee, 1915; P. O. 
Boyd, Lee, 1916. Wyoming, P. Neibergall. Paw Paw, 1914; Jay 
M. 'smith, Paw Paw* 1915; Roy Blee, Paw Paw, 1916. 

Justices of the Peace — Alto, A. Richolsou, W. M. Ravnass, 
Steward ; Amboy, Chas. E. Ives, A. A. Virgil, Jno. C. Appleman, 
Amboy; Ashton, Squire T. Jennings, Ashton; Bradford, Joseph 
Baldwin, Ashton; Brooklyn, H. A. Bernardin, West Brooklyn, 
J. F. Beitz, Compton; China, Willis L. Riegle, F. H. Hansen, 
Franklin Grove ; Dixon, A. H. Hanneken, Jno. B. Crabtree, Edw. 
J. Condon, G. W. Gehant, Geo. W. Hill, Dixon; E. Grove, Jas. 
Donovan, Ohio ; Hamilton, C. H. Larkin, B. H. Peterson, Harmon; 
Harmon, H. M. Ostrander, Harmon, Elmer H. Hess, Van Patten; 
L. Center, Richard Gooch, Monroe Shaw, Lee Center; Marion, 



76 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

John Leonard, Dixon, R. D. ; Palmyra, Harvey M. Senneff, Dixon, 
R. D. ; S. Dixon, James Bollman, Dixon, R. D. ; Sublette, Peter H. 
Kokle, S. C. Leffelman, Sublette; W. Creek, W. H. Herrmann, 
Searboro ; Wyoming, Ed. P. Fleming, Paw Paw. 

Police Magistrates — Alto, S. J. Wlietston, Steward; Amboy, 
John Holleran, Amboy; China, A. B. Wicker, Franklin Grove; 
Dixon, W. G. Kent, Dixou. 

Constables — Alto, Jno. Buckley, Wm. J. Bowles, Steward; 
Amboy, Chas. E. Stanard, W. L. Eddy, Amboy; Ashton, Jno. W. 
Weishaar, Joel C. Wetzel, Ashton; Brooklyn, Chas. Carnahan, 
Comptou; China, E. O. E. Orner, Wm. F. IVIiller, Franklin Grove; 
Dixon, Jno. H. Howell, Wm. S. Fletcher, Wm. V. E. Steel, Wm, 
Dykeman, Dixon; Hamilton, W. C. Hardesty, Walnut, Joseph 
Knapp, Harmon ; Harmon, Wm. T. Camery, Harmon ; L. Center, 
Joseph Miller, Clem B. Miller, Lee Center; Nelson, Fred Ohda, 
Nelson ; Palmyra, Robert J. Drynan, Dixon, R. D. ; W. Creek, P. 
A. Schoenholtz, Searboro ; Wyoming, L. A. Coss, W. J. Valentine, 
Paw Paw. 

Township School Treasurers — Town 22, R. 11, N. A. Petrie, 
Ashton ; 37, 2, Frank Wheeler, Paw Paw ; 20, 11, Philo L. Berry, 
Lee Center ; 19, 8, Geo. Hermes, Harmon ; 37, 1, J. S. Richardson, 
Compton; 19, 9, Philip Erbes, Amboy; 19, 11, A. H. Lauer, Sub- 
lette ; 22, 10, C. D. Hussey, Franklin Grove ; 21, 9, Ira W. Lewis, 
Dixon; 39, 1, Henry Salzman, Ashton; 22, 9, E. B. Raymond, 
Dixon; 20, 9, Ed. Lalh^ Dixon; 22, 8, Fred A. Lawton, Dixon; 
39, 2, G. A. Ruckman, Steward; 38, 1, H. Berscheid, Compton; 
20, 8, T. H. Mannion, Harmon ; 21, 8, H. W. Phillips, Dixon ; 21, 11, 
Chas. Wagner, Ashton; 19, 10, Andrew Spohn, Amboy; 38, 2, Geo. 
W. Yetter, Lee ; 20, 10, H. H. Badger, Amboy ; 21, 10, S. A. Durkes, 
Franklin Grove. 

ASSESSMENT 1912 

Following is the assessed valuation of lands, lots and personal 
property of Lee county, by townships, for the past year, 1912. 

First are given the returns as made b}^ the assessor; next are 
given the values as fixed by the board of review. 

This is the last valuation spread upon the records. Substan- 
tially the lands and lots for the present year will be the same. The 
personal property list however will be approximately half a mil- 
lion dollars more. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 



77 



Lands by Lands by 
Township A^stsiT Board Itevlew 

Alto 567,030 567,030 

Ashton 328,155 338,155 

Amboy 363,185 363,185 

Bradford 646,975 640,975 

Brooklyn 571.540 571,540 

China 531,370 531,370 

Dixon 618,405 617,400 

East Grove ...396,130 396,130 

Hamilton 370,985 370,985 

Harmon 388,795 388,795 

Lee Center ...364,940 364.940 

Marion 379,895 3:9,895 

May 313,845 313,845 

Nachusa 443,985 443,985 

Nelson 342,44C H42,385 

Palmyra 657,0Sf. 657,080 

Reynolds 544,76ly 544,760 

South Dixon. ..516,940 517,340 

Sublette 655,495 655.495 

Viola 538,350 538,350 

Willow Creek. 568,630 568,630 

Wyoming 601,400 601,400 

10,589,515 











Gain in 


Loss In 












Lands 


Lands 




Lots by 


Lots by 


Personal by 


Personal by 


and 


and 


Gain Id 


Assessor 


Board Review 


Assessor I 


'.oard Review 


Lots 


Lots 


Pl'lSClTIll 


37,160 


37,160 


86.460 


90,905 






4,445 


135,375 


135,375 


322,490 


233,760 






270 


194,545 


194,470 


186,475 
99.695 


195,955 
106,595 




75 


9,480 
0,900 


94,695 


94,695 


143,870 


154,705 






10,839 


108,100 


108,100 


233,935 


237,240 






3.305 


1,861,700 


1.860,355 


908,590 
25,520 
41.310 


975,030 
35.520 
41,310 


i 


2,350 


66,430 


19.615 


19.615 


60,435 


61,435 






1,000 


30.970 


30.970 


88,760 


89,220 






460 


865 


1,300 


50,860 
35,085 


50,860 
35,085 


335 






14,840 


14,840 


89,530 


90,460 






930 


8,860 


8,860 


57,235 


59,170 




55 


1,935- 


3,730 


3,730 


128,160 
74.560 


128,410 
75.565 






250 
1,005 


4,895 


4,895 


101.060 


102,385 


300 




1,335 


37.450 


37,450 


137.850 
75.555 


127,975 
78,220 






135 
2,665 


35.350 


34,385 


163,710 


174,175 




965 


11,465 


107,500 


107,500 


173,895 


175,835 






1,940 



2,682,500 



3,298,805 635 3,445 124,76f 




will I'I'LK ( A\ I'. 




S I'I'lAMI'.dA I i;0('K 



CHAPTER VI 

THE GEOLOGY OF LEE COUNTY 

In attempting to give the rock formation of counties, the his- 
torian, generally speaking, is compelled to gather his information 
from sources not at all reliable, and naturally that portion of his 
book is unsatisfactory to himself and misleading to the reader. 
How fortunate therefore it was that 1 was enabled to secure a 
reliable as well as learned and exhaustive treatment of the sub- 
ject. Ira W. Lewis, one of the associate editors, discovered the 
document and referred me to it. I have cojDied and embodied it 
in this work and I may say with truthfulness that no more valu- 
able information will be found between these covers than the essay 
of Doctor Everett. 

Dr. Oliver Everett, who came to Dixon in the year 1836, beyond 
an}' doubt was the most learned man who ever lived in Lee county. 
In the fifty odd years of active practice, he came to be beloved by 
every person who ever met him. and that acquaintance extended 
to the four corners of the count,y. 

Night and day, for over half a century he rode the country 
administering to the sick. Nights and days he traveled, first the 
trackless prairies, then the muddy roads. Many times he had 
driven for forty-eight hours at a stretch liefore seeking his pil- 
low. To the rich and the poor he ministered alike. If the patient 
was poor his name never found its way into Doctor Everett's 
account book and thus a fortune was scattered over the coimty of 
Lee as his contribution towards building up this c(5mmunity. 

In that long and busy practice, he assisted something like five 
thousand children into this world, and it is with pride that I place 
my name in the long, long list of children who so early greeted the 
good old doctor, whose presence and assistance at such a period 
was so important. 

79 



80 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Duriug such a busy life it scarcely seems possible that he should 
find, time to delve iuto the subject of geology aud natural history. 
But he did and at the second county fair ever held in Dixon — in 
1858, his great collection of natural history specimens attracted 
state wide attention. He also collected a large number of exces- 
sively rare American coins. Where could all of them have drifted ? 
To deposit them to his memory would have been the appropriate 
thing to do, but they were neglected after his death, and now all 
of his specimens have perished. But so long as there is any Dixon, 
the memory of Doctor Everett will be cherished. 

He was an histoiian of I'are merit and nine-tenths of the old 
items of our history were snatched from oblivion and collected by 
Doctor Everett. The little book of events, arranged chronologic- 
ally, and published in 1880, by the Dixon Telegraph, is a priceless 
thing. And for it we may thank Doctor Everett. He and John 
Moore, long with the Telegraph, cooperated together in bringing 
the little book into the world. He gathered the data and John 
Moore arranged them. That little book contains an account of 
every important event which goes to make up our history. 

Full of years, he passed away beloved by all aud more especially 
by every member of that great family of "his children" which he 
assisted into this world of so many uncertainties. 

GEOLOGY 

From Oregon, in Ogle County, to Sterling, in Whiteside County. 
By the late Oliver Everett, M. D. 

Bead before the lUinoifi Natural History Society, June 27, 1860 

My object, in this paper, is to give some of the results of obser- 
vations made by me upon the geolog\' of the Rock river valley, in 
Lee county, and a part of Ogle and Whiteside counties, or from 
about Oregon, in Ogle county, to Sterling, in Whiteside coimty. 
The surface in this part of the country is much more rolling, or 
undulating, than in most parts of the state. This is particularly 
the case in the upper portion of the section alluded to in Ogle 
county and part of Lee county, where it is frequently cut up into 
deep ravines, on the sides of which the underlying rocks are often 
exposed to view ; and the banks of Rock river and its tributaries 
frequently present bold, perpendicular bluffs of rock, from fifty 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 81 

to two hundred feet high, thus giving a tolerably good opportunity 
for geological investigations. These features are most prominent 
in the region of one member of the geological series of which I shall 
hereafter speak, viz., the Upper or St. Peter's sandstone. In 
another section, where the Trenton lime rock underlies the drift, 
there are frequently found deep pits in the ground. These pits 
are generally more or less circular, and are from one to two or 
three rods in diameter, at the surface of the ground, and run to a 
point below. They are from ten to twenty and sometimes thirty 
feet deep, and have, evidently, been produced by the earth, in these 
places, falling into and being carried away by subterranean 
streams of water in the loose rock below. 

Below Dixon, although the surface is considerably undulating, 
it is not so abruptly broken by deep ravines, and the prairies gen- 
erally slope gradually to the banks of the river, seldom exposing 
the rocks at all. Below Dixon there is very little woodland along 
the banks of the river, while above, between Dixon and Oregon, a 
considerable portion of the country along the river is covered with 
timber. The timber is not generally of very heavy growth, 
although, in some places, on the bottom lands, it is quite large. It 
consists of the various species of oak and hickory common to the 
state, the black and white walnut, the sugar and silver-leaved 
maple, box-elder (Negundo accrifoliiun), sycamore, the red and 
white elm, hackberry, ash, linden, eottonwood, etc. The red cedar, 
the white pine, the ground hemlock (Taxus Americana), the black 
and the paper or canoe birch (Betula lenta and Betula papy- 
racea), are found on the extreme verge of the rocks overhanging 
the river and creeks, beyond the reach of the pi'airie lii'es. All 
these last mentioned species, except the red cedar, are found, as 
far as I have observed, only upon the bluffs formed by the St. 
Peter's sandstone. 

We should naturally expect to find on a soil produced from the 
disintegration of this sandstone, some plants which are not com- 
mon to the rich alluvial and clayey soils of a large portion of the 
state. Accordingly I have found several species not included in 
Doctor Lapham's catalogue, and some of them not in the addi- 
tional lists subsequently made by Doctors Brendell and Bebb, and 
which I presimie are not often found in other parts of the state. 
Among which I might name two species of vaccinium, the Are- 
tostaphylos urauisi, Lupenu perrennis. Campanula rotTuidifolia, 
Talinum teretifolium. Lobelia kalmii, Cerastium oblongifoliimi, 
Linaria canadensis, Fragaria vesca, and the Viola lanceolate, 



82 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

which grows on the borders of ponds, or in wet places in this sandy 
soil. 

The drift formation, through this section, is probably not so 
thick nor so uniform in depth as in most parts of the state. There 
are many things in relati(ui to it Avhich have peculiar interest, but 
my object in this paper is to speak of the rock iDeneath it. 

There is in this section of about thirty miles of the Rock river 
valley, a pretty good opportunity to study several important mem- 
bers of the lower Silurian system and some of the lowest strata of 
the upper Silurian series. 

Commencing at Oregon, with the St. Peter's sandstone, and 
ascending the geological scale, as we go down the river, we find 
the Buff: limestone (of Owen), the Trenton limestone, the Galena 
limestone, and the shales, etc., representing the Hudson river 
group of the lower Silurian system, and the Niagara limestone of 
the ui^per Silurian series. 



The lowest rock which we find in the section under considera- 
tion, is the Upper or St. Peter's sandstone. It is the i^revailing 
rock along the river, from a mile above Oregon to about three 
miles below Grand Detour, a distance of thirteen or fourteen miles. 
On the northwest side of the river, I think that in no place does 
this rock appear on the surface more than two or three miles from 
the river. On the southwest side it extends several miles back 
from the river. I should think that the thickness of tins rock 
could not be less than two Inmdred feet, and probably more. The 
country where this rock prevails is characterized by great uneven- 
ness. It is frequcntl.y cut up into deep and sharp ravines, and, in 
many ]daccs, there are bold, precipitous liluffs, fi'om oue to two 
hundred feet high. I have not often found these bluffs capped 
with the Trenton limestone, as spoken of by Professor Hall as 
being the case in Iowa. In ui;iiiy places this sandstone is inter- 
spersed with munerous hoiizoutal l)ands or la^^ers of iron, or sand- 
stone so impregnated and ('emcuted with the oxide of iron, as to 
be very firm and resisting. These layers are from less than half 
an incli to two inches in tliicl'Cncss, and occui', oue above another, 
in some places but a few inches, and in others several feet apart. 
These layers resist the action of the atmosphere for a great length 
of time, and only give away from the disintegration and weai'ing 
awav of the rock beneath, when thev break off and fall from their 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY S3 

own weight. Between these layers the rock is sometimes very 
loose and friable, easily worked away with the pick. 

It appears as if, during the deposition of this rock, that occa- 
isonally, in these localities, the surface was in some way covei'ed 
with a sediment of the oxide of iron, which acting as a cement, 
rendered this portion of the rock much harder and tirmer than 
other parts of it. If you will examine one of these layers with a 
magnifying glass, you will see that they are made up principally 
of the same minute peculiarly formed grains of quartz, of which 
other portions (if the rock is composed, stained and partially cov- 
ered with the oxide of iron. We frerpumtly find very beautiful 
ripple marks on these ferruginous layers. On some of them the 
impress of the eddies and ripples of the old Silurian ocean a})pear 
as fresh and palpable as if i:)roduced l)ut xcstcrday. Tlu'se mark- 
ings are sometimes very singular and curious, mimicking the forms 
of organized life. Here is a specimen which I have been at a loss 
to determine whether it has Itecn jn'oduced Iiy the action of the 
water or is an impression of some oi'ganized being. This rock is 
composed of small rounded gi'ains of pure limpid quartz, which 
have a singular uniformity in their size and shape, in some places 
cohering so slightly as to cnunlile in the hand, and in other locali- 
ties so fi]'ndy cemented as to make a good I)uildiug .stone. This 
rock is in some places of almost chalky whiteness, liut more com- 
monly it has a grayish aspect, while in other localities it has a 
reddish appearance, being stained with the oxide of iron. 

As to the economical uses of this rock. There are several quar- 
ries in the Franklin creek, in Lee county, and in Ogle county, 
where it has been pretty extensively used for building, and cut into 
window and door sills and caps. There was a beautiful arched 
bridge of cut stone, from one of these ([Uarries, built over Franklin 
creek, for the Chicago and Fulton railroad, when it was first con- 
structed. Professor Hall says that this rock would make an excel- 
lent material for making glass. 

It will be perceived that this rock, as it is found in the valley 
of Rock river, vaiics considerably from the description of it given 
by Professor Hall as it occurs in Iowa. Instead of its being uni- 
formly the loose, friable rock, spoken of by ^Nfr. Hall, with scarcely 
cohesion enough to enable him to obtain calnnet specimens of it, 
we frequently find it forming liold, perpendicular, and sometimes 
overhanging cliffs, with strength and tenacity enough to make a 
good building stone. There are places where the rock is flinty and 



84 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

hard, and weathers out, like granite, in jagged and irregular peaks, 
high above the surface of the suri'ounding country. 

BUFF LIMESTONE 

Next to the St. Peter's sandstone, and separated from it in 
some places by two or three feet of shale and bluish clay, comes 
the Buff limestone of Owen, classed by Hall with the Trenton 
limestone. This is a thick bedded, comi^act, semi-crystalline mag- 
nesian limestone, in layers of from one to two feet in thickness. 
It crops out in many places above the St. Peter's sandstone. 

Between these thick ledges there are thin shaly layers, an inch 
or two in thickness, abomiding in fossils. Although those layers 
are full of fossils, there appears to be but a very few species. They 
are very imperfect — most of them are casts, and appear to be 
such as are common to the Trenton limestone proper. This rock 
is often quite fine grained and compact, and makes an excellent 
building stone. Prom an analysis <»f specimens of this rock in 
Iowa, Professor Hall thinks that it may be very useful for the 
manufactiu'e of hydraulic cement, as its composition was found to 
more nearly resemble than any of our other magnesian limestones, 
that of the best rocks used for that purpose in other places. These 
thick bedded lavers ai'e from twehe to eighteen feet in thickness. 



TRENTON LIMESTONE 

The blue limestone of the western geologists, or the Trenton 
limestone of the New York survey, succeeds these magnesian beds. 
This rock is quite variable in its appearance. In some places it 
has a bluish color, ])articularly on a recent fracture, but more 
frequently it is of a dull buff color. It is not so thick bedded as 
the preceding rock, and is in sonic ]tlaces <|uite shaly, and breaks 
up into small fragments when quarried. In other places the lay- 
ers are compact and thick enough to make a good building stone. 

There are vertical crevices frequently found in this rock, which 
are fi'om two to fifteen inches in width. Sometimes they are filled 
with debris, and in other places are open and serve as channels 
for subtei'ranean streams of water from the pits in the elevated 
ground back from the bluffs, which I have spoken of above. At 
the base of the bluff, after a heavy shower, or at the breaking up 
of the winter, swollen streams of tui'bid water may be seen rush- 
ing from them. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 85 

The Trenton limestone abounds in fossils. It is the oldest rock 
in this country in which we hnd a great profusion of the remains 
of organized beings, showing be}'uud doubt that the ocean of the 
lower Silurian era was tilled with a multitude of the lower forms 
of animal life. Here is a sijecinien not much more than twice 
as large as a man's hand, that has representatives from three of 
the grand divisions of the animal kingdom. This central figure 
is a fine large trilobite, a beautiful specunen of the Articulata; 
and here are several fragments of coral and the stem of an Encri- 
nite from the Radiata, while the Moiusca is represented by several 
of the Acephala and a Gasterapod. There are great numbers of 
Arthocerata found in this rock. Some of them are of very great 
size. I have seen sections of them that were eight inches in diam- 
eter. I have a part of one in ni}^ collection which is not more than 
six inches in diameter at its largest part, that is eight feet in 
length. Ammonites of considerable size are found in this rock. 
Among the Acephala are several species of Septaena. Stropho- 
mena, Orthis, etc., are common in some of the layers of this rock. 

This rock is somewhat extensively used for building material, 
although for that purpose it is not equal in value to the magnesian 
beds below it. It makes ex;cellent lime, and is extensively used for 
that purpose. Some of the layers of this rock, in this locality, are 
made up almost exclusively of fossil shells and corals, and are 
very compact and fine grained, and receive an excellent polish, 
making a very beautiful figured marble. The Trenton limestone 
is found principall}^ in the bend of the river, in the upper part 
of Lee county, extending about four miles south, and is also f(jund 
in a narrow belt on the northwest side of the river, extending from 
Pine creek, in Ogle county, to within a mile of Dixon. 

GALENA LIMESTONE 

The Galena limestone succeeds and rests upon the Trenton 
limestone. The line of demarkation between this and the Trenton 
limestone i'^ not always easily ascertained. Layers, partaking 
sometimes more of the characteristics of one of these formations 
and then the other, are often foimd intermingled for some dis- 
tance, although the charactei'i sties of the mass of the two forma- 
tions are very distinct. It appears to be the prevailing rock, 
underlying the surface of the elevated prairie, over a considerable 
portion of the northwestern part of the state — the streams having 
in many places cut down through it into the strata beneath. The 



86 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Galena limestone is a rock peculiar to the West, and is a very 
important member of the lower tSilurian series. It is important 
not only from its thickness and the extent of country which it 
covers, and the many economical uses made of the rock itseli^, but 
from the rich minerals it contains, it being peculiarly the lead- 
bearing rock of the Northwest, as is indicated by its name. 

The Galena limestone is a coarse-grained, porous, and some- 
times friable rock. It has a dull grayish and sometimes yellowish 
color and, from its jjorous character, weathers out very rough and 
irregularly. It is everywhere characterized by its j^eculiar fossil, 
the simflower coral, the Coscinapora sulcata or recepticalites of 
Hall. In the lower beds of this rock there is a very beautiful 
species of Favosite quite common. Its pentagonal columns oi' 
rather tubes, tilled with transverse lamina of a pure sileceous 
material, radiating from a point, present a very beautiful appear- 
ance, particularly on a recent fracture. This coral is often found 
in large masses where it has weathered out of the rock, sometimes 
entire, but more frequently broken into fragments. Among the 
Gasteropods found in this rock are the ^Marehisonia. Pleurotoma- 
ria, etc. The Orthoceras, Crytoceras, Anunouite, and some of the 
bivalves connnou to the Trenton limestone, are often found in the 
lower beds of this rock. This limestone is the prevailing rock 
along the liver, fi'om a mile al)Ove Dixon, to near Sterling, where 
it disappears beneath the Hudson river group and the Niagara 
limestone. This rock, as may be seen by the map, spreads out over 
a much greater extent of country as we go back from the river, on 
either side. 

HUDSON ER'ER GROrP 

On the inmiediate l)anks of the liver, along the rapids at Ster- 
ling, and at the base of the bluffs a mile above town, on the north 
side of the river, may be seen the various rocks, shales, clayey and 
bituminous deposits described l)y Professor Hall as the Hudson 
river group. The rapids in Rock river at Sterling seem to have 
])0('n ])rodueed liy the weaiing away of the shales of this forma- 
tion. 1 have l)een unable to ascertain what the exact thiclaiess of 
this grou]) may be, ))ut think that it is probably not more than 
twenty-live or iliiiiy feet. On the map accompam'ing this paper 
T have re])resent('d this formation in a narrow belt, surrounding 
the Niagara limestone, on the east and north side. 

Although the rocks of this formation do not appear at the sur- 
face, exce])t at the rapids and at the bluff above Sterling, T have 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 87 

been able to trace them, in the course iudicated on the map, by 
examination of the rocks thruwn up in the digging of wells. 

NIAGARA LIMESTONE 

The Niagara limestone is found on the north side of the river, 
above Sterling, extending through the northeastern part of Wliite- 
side county. This rock is also a magxiesian limestone, and resem- 
bles, in its composition and appearance, the Galena limestone. 
There is a good opportunity to examine this formation at the quar- 
ries, a mile above Sterling. Thei'c it may be seen resting on a 
green compact rock of the Hudson river group. The lines of charts 
common to this rock are found there in abundance, sometimes 
forming layers six inches thick. The characteristic fossil of this 
rock, the Catenapora Escharoides, and a beautifid species of Favo- 
site are common there. I also noticed a species of Marchisonia 
and two or three bivalves. The rock from these quarries makes 
an excellent building stone, and is extensively used for that pur- 
pose. 

[It may be added that in Ashton, Lee Center, Reynolds and 
Amboy, there are small quarries, removed from the river and the 
creeks tributary to it, the Ashton quai'ry in particular furnishing 
a beautiful building stone. St. Luke's Episcopal church is built 
of it. It is a hard sandstone, and doubtless of the character men-'* 
tioned by Doctor Everett. — Editor.] 



CHAPTER VII 

LEE COUNTY IN THE CIVIL WAR 

Mrs. S. S. Dodge 

It would not be just, I think, to claim that our owti Lee county 
held more patriotic people and sent more soldiers and supplies 
during the Civil war than others, but that our county did stand in 
the fore front in all patriotic labors, we <lo claim and none mil 
dispute. The fact that two great railway lines crossed each other 
in the county, giAdng an outlet in four dii'ections, was of much more 
importance then, as transportation facilities were very meager, 
in comparison with those of today. >S(), a certain town, not in the 
center of Lee county, but well up in the northwestern coi'uer, called 
Dixon, became a rallying point for quite a large section of coun- 
try. Comj^anies of soldiers, formed in other coTinties, were sent 
here to join others; some to wait days and weeks before orders 
came as to their location in the great struggle just commencing. 
The rolling stock of the railways was taxed to the utmost, and it 
was sad to see the brave boys often sent away in freight cars. Lee 
county had shared with others the uncertain and luisatisfactoiy 
state of feeling for two or three years, and it only needed the shot 
fired upon Fort Rumter that April day to fan to a flame the smol- 
dering fire of patriotism. Every one from the old people to the 
children could think and talk of little else. Even the children, 
faithful little copies of the men of their families, arrayed them- 
selves in no uncertain manner on the side where their sympathies 
led. The words abolitionist and secessionist were well under- 
stood, and when the word copperhead was mentioned, it meant to 
the child mind something very fearful. It was a marvel to ray 
childish mind, and is to this day, the courage it must have taken 
for a man to avow those sentiments in this northland, which parted 

Vol. 1—6 

80 



90 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

him from relatives, friends aud neighbors, sometmies bringing 
him financial losses aud bodily injury ; and the bitter feeling never 
ended, but lasted as long as life itself. The 17th of April found 
our people, irrespective of party, in council with great enthusiasm. 
The action of the administration heartily approved, a company 
was being formed. On the 22d the first company of volunteers met 
at their armory, hoisted a flag opposite the mayor's office. They 
elected A. B. Gorgas, captain; Henry T. Noble, first and Henry 
Dement, second lieutenants. Two other companies, the Dixon 
Cadets and the Dixon Blues, were organized, but they were not 
needed then, the regiments under the first call being full. Nearly 
all enlisted again, later, and went to the war. On the 25th the 
ladies of Dixon presented a handsome banner to Captain Gorgas' 
company. The banner was made by the ladies, and they spent days 
in the old Methodist church, in its making. The presentation took 
place in front of the old courthouse, and Miss Mary Williams 
delivered the presentation address. Miss Williams, later, became 
the wife of Henry Dement. The regiment of 970 men, of the 
Second Congressional district, went into camp on the old fair 
grounds just east of the cemetery. The drawing for position 
by companies gave the Dixon company. Company A. June 1, the 
ladies presented Company A imiforms made by their own hands. 
Sunday, June 16, the Thirteenth Regiment of Illinois Vohmteers 
took tlae cars for Caseyville, twelve miles from St. Louis. Septem- 
ber 2d, the Thirty-fourth Illinois A^dunteers left Dixon. October 
1st, a camp for recruiting and organizing troops was established 
on the river bank west of the i-ailroad, somewhere near where the 
shoe factory now stands. Col. John Dement conuuander of the 
encampment. December 5th. Dement Phalanx go into winter 
quarters, in the stone building, erected for plow works, near the 
depots. Jan. 14, 1862, an artillery company, just raised, elected 
John Cheney captain. February 2d, the Forty-sixth Regiment, 
encamped in Dements barracks through the winter, take the cars 
for Springfield — John Stevens, captain, father of our bright news- 
paper man, Mr. Frank Stevens. June 10, a new company was 
formed. James W. Reardon, captain. September 4th, the Seventy- 
fifth Illinois A'olunteers in Camp Dixon, on the bank of the river, 
was mustered into service — five companies from Lee county, five 
fi'om Whiteside. The regiment left f(U- Louisville, Kentucky, Sep- 
tember 27th. 

And so they marched away, that beautiful army of boys, with 
flags flying, and the inspiring strains of the fife and drum ; sad 




MAJOR JOIIX STKVEXS 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY !»i 

hearts, gay hearts; witli experieuccs awaiting them to turn the 
strongest heart cokl ; weariness, loneliness, sickness, exposure, 
poor food, wounds, starvation in prisons, and death for thousands 
of them. The total quotas for Lee county were 2,454 men, and the 
enlistments credited to the count}' were eight short of that num- 
ber. Just how the nunil:)er was made up, whether by draft or 
later enlistment, there seems to have lieen no record. Two thou- 
sand four hundred and tifty-four men seems like a large number to 
take from one county, but there were many left at home. Those 
who were too old, others who would have gone gladly, but phys- 
ical inhrmities prevented. There was something for all of them 
to do. The business world, farms, stores and manufactories nmst 
be cared for. The supervisors of the eoimty were a busy band of 
men in those days. Our great State of Illinois, from the outset, 
was determined that the (piotas called for should be lilled by 
enlisted men, and not by drafting. It became necessary after a 
time, for our county to offer a bounty. At the November term in 
1863, a bounty of $100 was offered to every accepted vohmteer. 
The treasury being low, it was necessary to issue $15,000 in bonds 
for that purpose. At the Fel^ruai'v term of the supervisors' court, 
it was reported that $4,061.50 had been distributed, as a relief 
fund to families of volunteers. On July 18, 1864, the President 
called for 500,000 more men, and on September 14th the board 
appropriated $900 for each and every man enlisting to fill said call. 
The clerk was also authorized to issue orders not to exceed $150,000. 
He was also ordered to draw notes on the count}^ treasury for a sum 
not to exceed $2,000 for the relief of families of volunteers, not to 
exceed $100 each. June 20, 1861, the Volunteer Ajd Association 
secured subscriptions to the amo;mt of $2,625, as a fund for the 
benefit of families of absent volunteers. Much individual work 
was done ; loads of wood hauled, sawed and split, pro\'lsions sent 
where needed, clothing as well. One item along this line I found, 
touched my heart deeply. Nov. 2, 1864, a number of young men 
in the public schools formed a patriotic club for the purpose of 
aiding soldiers' widows and families in need of help that they could 
render — Carlos Burr, president ; LaFayette Davis, Adce president : 
Goodwin Patrick, secretary ; Sherwood Dixon, assistant secretary ; 
Charles Giles, treasurer. 

The reports of the adjutant general show that Lee coimty paid 
$405,214.75 bounties; to soldiers' families. $15,465.75; besides 
$218,707.55 paid as interest on county warrants or bonds, making a 



92 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

total of $639,388.05. This was more than was expended by any 
other county in the state, Cook and Bureau counties alone excejDted. 
And the women ! What did they do ! Do! What didn't they 
do ! After the partings were over, and who can measure the silent 
agony they endured! Wives who saw the husbands go, leaving 
them to be father and mother to the children and often the bread 
winner too; mothers who saw the school book drop from the son's 
hand or the hoe in the field it might be, with the far away look in 
the eyes, hearing the distant call ; and when they said, "Mother, we 
must go!" said never a word to keep them back. Sweet girls saw 
their lovers march away, taking the sunlight of happiness out of 
their lives. The story of the Spartan mother has always inspired 
admiration for her noble courage and patiiotism : but in 1861 there 
were Spartan mothers at every cross road and in ever}' hamlet of 
this great country. When the reaction came after these dreadful 
partings, there was work in plenty for these women to do — and 
then, as always, it was a source of relief. Indeed for a time, there 
was a perfect fury of work; no doubt much was wasted at that 
time from lack of organization. As has been mentioned, the Dixon 
ladies made the uniforms for Company A, Thirteenth Regiment, 
under the efficient superintendence of Mr. W. J. Carjoenter, and 
assistants, Messrs. Decamp and Cheeseman, did great service 
cutting and fitting the many garments. Sewing machines were 
rather a new thing here, and not very numerous, and were taken 
to Union Hall, known now as Maccabee Hall, and many women's 
hands made quick work, assisted by several of the boys, who were 
always ready to help by running the machines for the tired 
ladies. A few of those dear women are still with us ; many have 
passed on. 

Union Hall was used all that long summer for meetings for 
work, packing supplies, and entertainments of all kinds — fairs, 
dinners, suppers, dances and concerts, anything that would bring 
in money to help the soldiers. When the cold weather came on, 
meetings for work were hold at the different homes, as it was too 
expensive to heat the ball. In March. 1862, the ladies of Dixon 
formed a Soldiers' Aid Society, under the leadership of Mrs. 
Enoch Wood, a natural-born organizer and most efficient in every 
way. Among the many interesting things they did, I woidd like to 
mentiou one; and that was the making of a silk album quilt. In 
the ceutor of each block was a white silk piece, on which names 
were written by Mi'S. Alice McComsey Burton ; each name of 
course bi'inging in a small sum of money. The quilt was bought. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 93 

and given back, sold over and over again. It finally found its way 
to Chicago, was displayed at a fair given by the Sanitary Com- 
mission. A Mr. Howard who had lived in Dixon years before, 
saw it, learned that it was made in Dixon, bought it, and it was 
used and prized by the Howard family until it was ragged and 
worn out. The Dixon women were called upon to do a great deal 
of cooking the first year. 

Word would be circulated that a company would be here at a 
certain time, totally unprovided for, and the men nnist be cared 
for until arrangements for government rations could be made. 
So, on would go the coffee pots, and the lard kettles for frying 
doughnuts, and bread baked as soon as possible. At other times 
train loads of soldiers passing through the town would stop for a 
meal. Then there were the companies encamped here, for differ- 
ent lengths of time, always welcomed any home cooking, vege- 
tables especially, to vary their very monotonous menu of hard dry 
biscuits and poor salt meat. Many were the pails of cooked 
tomatoes, beans and vegetables of all kinds that those devoted 
women carried to the barracks in the west end. So our active 
women had plenty of this work, lacking any other. The old ladies 
knitted socks, and made night shirts for the wounded in hospitals; 
the 3^oung ladies sang wai' songs at concerts, the most pathetic 
songs ever composed, unspeakably dear to the hearts of every true 
man and woman; school girls wrote letters to boy schoolmates 
who had gone to the front. Who can tell how much good those 
cheeiy letters did those homesick boys. The little giils seraijed 
lint, made little comfort bags, made other little articles, held little 
fairs and brought their money to be used by the Sanitary Com- 
mission, for the poor soldiers. Then after all the work and strain, 
came the waiting time for those faithful women ; who can tell the 
agonies of hope deferred, through one, two, three and four long 
years. Sometimes good news came, sometimes the saddest, but 
worst than all were those to whom no news ever came, whose loved 
ones lie in unknown graves. 

One busybody I have not mentioned; he of the tiny bow and 
arrows, our little god of love. He was here, there and everywhere. 
Mason and Dixon line meant nothing at all to him, and if he shot 
one of his arrows and foimd impaled upon it a bhiecnat. or 
"Yank," and a bitter little southern rebel, or a greycoat and a 
serious-eyed northern mirse, he only laughed at the confusion he 
had made. He put it into the minds of many of the soldier boys, 
that instead of "The girl he left behind him," it should be the wife, 



W HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

aud many a going away morning saw a quiet wedding. In my own 
family a dear young uncle of barely twenty-one was married the 
morning he left for the war. He was sent home soon, on accotmt 
of illness, spent a short three weeks with his bride, then back 
again, to die shortly, a victim of poor food and insanitary sur- 
roundings. He has been sleeping away the years in the Southland, 
with thousands of others, within sound of the mighty Mississippi 
waters, with the stately magnolia trees above him swinging their 
snowy censers, and the mocking birds trilling a tireless requiem. 

Truly Lee county did a great work during those troublous 
years. All honor we render, where we feel much honor is due. 
But one criticism we must make and it lies very near the hearts 
of many of her good citizens. 

Fifty years have passed since those gallant men marched away, 
and Lee county has reared no memorial for those 2,454 men who 
gave up everj^hing, some of them, even life itself, that this country 
be made peaceful and prosperous. 

Lee county is rich and prosperous. Our supervisors have seen 
to it that we have a tine courthouse and other county buildings, 
but nothing to him of the musket who made these prosperous con- 
ditions. Our neighboring counties are not so remiss. Winnebago 
has a fine memorial hall in Rockford, with beautiful assembly 
room, museimi, amusement rooms, dining room and kitchen; and 
all al)out the walls, bronze tablets with the name of every soldier 
who went from the county. I am very proud that my soldier 
husband's name is among the number. Stephenson county has a 
uionument JTist in front of the courthouse in Freei^ort. Ogle 
county has provided a memorial hall in the courthouse in Oregon, 
with marble tablets with the soldici's' names upon them upon the 
w^alls. It woidd seem if the matter is not taken up, dxiring the life 
of the present genei'ation, it is probable it never would be. Some 
may say, why not let some individual or organization rear a 
memorial of some kind? T ha\(^ no doubt there are those who 
would be willing to do so, but it should not be an individual gift. 
Tt should be a tribute from every one in the county. 

Ts it not tru(\ that we are mcn'e interested, and prize more 
liiuhly. sduietliiuLi' in which we have a share? 

While motoring in Wisconsin the ]iast summer we spent a 
day in Janes^ille, and there in front of the courthouse was a 
massive granite monument, simply in memory of the soldiers of 
T?o('k county. Then in llaraboo, \fo spent two days, and almost 
the lii'st thinu" T saw when T looked out of the hotel window, which 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 95 

faced the courthouse square, was a soldiers' mouumeut, Sauk 
county's tribute to her soldiers. What do the children think, 
when we try to teach them patriotism, when we have no memorial 
to point to with pride, as a token of our love and appreciation'? 
How much it would mean to the families of those who gave their 
loved ones, to see in our lieautiful courthouse park, a fitting 
tribute, in which they would have a vital interest? And what a 
lesson in patriotism to the community at large, every time they 
passed that way, to look upon that memorial of coiirage and 
bravery. 

It woidd seem as though our present honorable board of 
supervisors could not do a more fitting or beautiful thing, than 
to make a suitable appropriation for tliis object of love and duty. 

Very soon the veterans will all have passed to the better land. 
^Vhen our Cireat Commander shall call all His brave boys, for a 
final review, there will be no neglected or disappointed ones. He 
will credit every one for every noble deed, and in His smile of 
ai>pr()val, they will find perfect satisfactiim. 

When we stand before Him. and He asks if we did all we coidd 
in love, gratitude and appreciation, for this great army of men, 
not for what they were themselves, for their sacrifice entailed on 
many of them, broken health, shattered bodies, minds and morals, 
but for the great things they did foi- each and every one of us, 
what shall our answer be I 



LEE COUNTY'S SOLDIERS IX THE CIVIL WAR 

In running through the Adjutant General's reports to find the 
names of the soldiers Avho enlisted from Lee county, a perfect 
roster cannot be claimed. I found other Wyomings, Sugar 
Groves, Hamiltons, Marions, Franklins, Brooklyns, and Pal- 
myras. In such cases, if no other Lee county names were found, 
no attention was paid to them. I feel, however, that a reasonably 
accui'ate list has been completed. One or two desertions have been 
noted. Others may have desei'ted, but I doubt it. The boys from 
Lee were a loyal body of men. 

In many cases where recruiting was pro.gressing just ovei' the 
line in neighboring towns, if recruits got their mail there, the 
recruiting station was credited with the recruit and not Lee 
countv, so that I lost the name. 



96 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

EIGHTH INFANTRY 

James H. Barrell, Ainboy, Co. C ; Alexander Algood, Amboy, 
Co. H; Peter Barnard, Aniboy, Co. H. Transferred from the 
nth: Alexander H. Crowell, Amboy, Co. H. Uuassigned 
Recruits: Charles K. Ramsay, Andrew Roe, Martin J. Roberts, 
George W. Rentpo, Levi L. Rentpo, Daniel Sullivan, William A. 
Short, Philip Stout, Samuel V. Shoemaker. 

NINTH INFANTRY 

Michael Farley, Amboy, Co. E. 

TENTH INFANTRY 

Company G: Ephraim A. Wilson, Dixon; Guy W. Blanchard, 
Palmyra; William Hartman, Palmyra; William Andrew, Pal- 
myra; Guy H. Blanchard, Palmyi'a; Justus C. Blanchard, Pal- 
myra; Daniel M. Cary, Palmyra; William E. Desk (or Dech), Pal- 
myra; William Llartman, Palmyra; David Kinney (or Kenuey), 
Palmyra; George Lenox, Palmyra; William E. Lord, Palmyra; 
Jerome B. Morgan, Palmyra; Spencer C. Morgan, Palmyra; 
Michael O'Brien, Palmyra; George Rouch (or Rousch ), Palmyra; 
Hero S. Siefkeu, Dixon ; Henry W. Warn, Palmyra ; Charles C. 
Williams, Dixon; Erecmau D. Rosebrook (or Rosbrook), Dixon; 
Henry Bremer, Harmon; Jacob Julfs, Harmon; John M. Kinney 
(or Kenuey), Dixon; Eugene A. Miller, Harmon; Japhet B. 
Smith, Harmon; James B. Shorter, Harmon. Henry J. Heren, 
Dixon, unassigned. 

ELEVENTH REGIMENT 

Everett E. Chase, Amboy, Co. A; Henry Knaht, Lee county. 
Co. A; George F. Morgan, Lee county, Co. A; Stephen S. Scolley 
(or Scully), Lee county, Co. B ; August Leusch, Lee county, Co. C ; 
James LL Barrel], Lee county (who was transferred to the Eighth), 
Co. D ; George H. Brown, Lee county. Co. D : Wilson J. Fisher, Lee 
county, (^o. D; John H. Pieronnet, Amboy, (wlio was transferred 
to Co". H, 4Gth), Co. E; Arthur Merrigold, Lee county, Co. E; 
Jesse B. Weddcll, Aniboy. Co. E ; Henry E. Wilev. Amboy, Co. E; 
Peter M. Bariiard. Dixon. Co. F; Thomas B. Fisher. Amboy. Co. 
G; William E. Morse, Amboy, Co. G; Christian Plank, Amboy, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 97 

Oo. H ; Cliaiies H. Gardner, Dixon, Co. I ; Patrick Shehan, Dixon, 
Co. I ; David B, Wilson, Aniboy, Co. K. Unassigued : From Ain- 
boy, Walter L. Armstrong, Levy Bainter, John Burke, Thomas 
Shortleff. 

TWELFTH REGIMENT 

Company B : Jesse F. Hale, Ambo}' ; Julius Arndt, Amboy ; 
Sylvester Bidwell, Willow Creek ; Henry Bothe, Amboy ; Harlan 
L. Brewer, Amboy ; Clark Camp, Bradford ; Isaac W. Camp, Brad- 
ford; Martin L. Clink, Lee Center; John C. Clink, Sublette; Wil- 
liam Colwell, Amboy ; John Cook, Bi'ooklyn ; Albert R. Cumpston, 
Lee county; Joseph Cullison, Dixon; William Culver, Dixon; 
William C. Doan, Amboy; John Griffin, Amboy; Alva Griswold 
(or Griffin), Amboy; Frederick Hammerly, Amboy; Martin 
Hanmaerly, Amboy; Jacob Hammerly, Amboy; David E. Jcifs, 
China; James Long, Amboy; James McManus, Dixon; Thomas 
W. Moffitt, Amboy; James B. Nesbit, Lee coimty; Charles W. 
Peterson, Lee Center ; William H. Post, Ashton ; Jacob Stephens, 
Brooklyn; F'reegift Vandervort, Amboy; John F. Doan, Amboy; 
Jesse H. Doan, Amboy ; Lewis M. Wilcox, Lee Center. 

Christopher C. Miller, Dixon, Co. G. John J. Boyce, Dixon, 
Co. K. 

THIETEENTH REGIMENT 

John B. Wyman, Colonel, Amboy; Adam B. Gorgas, Am- 
boy; David H. Law, Asst. Surgeon, Dixon; J. Spafford Hunt, 
Asst. Surgeon, Dixon; Joseph C. Miller, Cliaplain; Martin H. 
Williams, Sergeant Major, Dixon; David L. Cleinment, Sergeant 
Major, Amboy; H. F. Van Houghton, Com. Sergeant, Dixon; 
Josiah K. Goodwin, Hospital Steward, Amboy; Hobart P. Wicks, 
Musican, Dixon; John A. D. Hcaton, Musician, Dixon. 

Company A: Henry T. Noble, Capt., Dixon; A. Judson Pink- 
ham, Capt., Dixon; Henry D. Dement, 1st Lieutenant, Dixon; 
Mark M. Evans, 1st Lieutenant, Dixon; Benj. Gilman, 2d Lieu- 
tenant, Dixon ; George L. Ackin, 2d Lieutenant, Dixon ; George 
Bass, Ashton; Henry VanHouton, Dixon; Corydon L. Heath, 
Dixon: Samuel Tnhl, Dixon; Alexander Pitts. Dixon; Edwin A. 
Snow, Dixon ; Dwight Heaton, Dixon ; James M. Shaw, Lee Cen- 
ter ; Martin C. Auld, Dixon ; Henry M. Demphes, Dixon ; Richard 
B. Young, Dixon; Cyrline B. Ayres, Dixon; Henry A. Anderson, 
Dixon; Martin Abels, Dixon; Palmer Atkins, Dixon; DeGras W. 
Brittain, Paw Paw ; Charles A. Becker, Dixon ; Charles Boucher, 



98 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

DLxon; Samuel Boyer, Dixon; James H. Boyd, Dixon; Dennison 
Baudon, Dixon; John H. Brubaker, Dixon; James Brennan, 
Dixon; Horace W. Beal, Dixon; Martin Blaer, Dixon; Charles 
A. Benjamin, Dixon; Ainos P. Curry, Dixon; John D. Crabtree, 
Dixon ; Jonathan H. Crabtree, Dixon ; Wm. H. Cheeseman, Dixon ; 
Osborne Cheney, DLxon ; James E. Covell, Dixon ; William Coffee, 
Dixon; Henry A. Devlin, Dixon; George F. Dunwiddie, Dixon; 
Mark Evans, Dixon ; Henry W. Olassey, Dixon ; Charles J. Coble, 
Dixon; William H. Griffin, Dixon; Lewis Greg-wire, Dixon; John 
H. Gilgan, Dixon; Milton Giles, Dixon; Austin Gallup, Dixon; 
Kobert Hadley, Dixon; Leroy Hallowell, Dixon; John Hamill, 
Dixon ; Orville Hamilton, Dixon ; James A. Hill, Dixon ; Edward 
Heaton, Dixon; George W. Harkuess, Dixon; Clinton D. Har- 
rison, Dixon ; William Irwin, Dixon ; Albert Kelly, Dixon ; Mark 
W. Link, Dixon ; William M. Mann, Dixon ; Joseph R. Morrill, 
Dixon ; George F. Mann, Dixon ; Henry Moseley, Dixon ; William 
H. Mead, Dixon; John Oakley, Dixon; Benjamin F. Pratt, Lee 
Center; Oscar H. Phillbrick, Dixou; Charles W. Reynolds, 
Dixon ; Ed. V. E. Remington, Dixon ; Miller Santee, Dixon ; Rollin 
H. Stearns, Lee Center ; Egbert D. Shaw, Lee Center ; Thomas H. 
Smurr, Dixon; Charles H. Sutton, Dixon; Cyrus P. Smith, Paw 
Paw; Charles W. Snyder, Dixon; Jedediah Shaw. Dixon; Nor- 
man P. Sterling, Dixon; David N. Slearry (or David H. Starry), 
Dixon; Andrew Voorhees, Dixon; George W. Wells, Dixon; 
Joshua W. Wood, Dixon; Jacob R. Wolverton, Dixon; Hugh 
Wilson, Dixon; Charles A. Williams, Dixon; William H. Wood- 
gatt, Dixon; Patrick Walsh, Dixon; John M. Walty, Dixon; 
L\anan M. Cole, Dixou; Joseph S. Potter, Dixon; George D. Bur- 
ton, Dixon; Seth D. W. C. Brittain, Paw Paw; William Cook, 
Dixon; James E. Edsou, Dixou; Sherman A. Griswold, Lee Cen- 
ter; Joseph Hill, Dixon; Seth J. Heaton, Dixon; John W. King, 
Dixon; Peter LaForge, Jr., Franklin Grove; William G. MeCin- 
nis, Dixon; Patrick McKeever, Dixon; Charles H. Noble, Dixon; 
Charles F. Sawyer, Lee Center; J(dm Schwab, Dixon; Oscar H. 
Webb, Dixon; Edward White, China. 

Company C: Henry M. Messenger, Amboy, Cai)t.; George B. 
Snge, Amboy. Capt. ; Nathaniel Neff, Amboy. 1st Lieut.; Simecm 
'l\ .loslyii. Aiulioy. 1st Tiioiit. ; John A. Shipmau, Amboy, Sergt. ; 
D.Mvid L. Clciumert, Amboy, Sergt.; William H. Hale," Sublette, 
Sergt.; Frank A. Wood. Sublette. Sergt.; Frederick W. Cooper, 
AToliigin's Grove. Corporal; William H. Ripley. Amboy, Cor- 
poral; Alexander Rollo. Amboy, Corporal; Alexander McNaugh- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 99 

ten, Amboy, Corporal; Albert B. McKune, Sublette, Corporal; 
Herman G. Huster, Amboy, Corporal; George M. Berkley, Sub- 
lette, Corporal; Tracy F. Marshall, Amboy, Musician; Frank 
Leer, Amboy, Musician; Richard Atkinson, Amboy; Edward A. 
Barnard, Amboy; Otis B. Bridgman, Aiuboy; John F. Baniter, 
Amboy ; Willis Bronson, Amboy ; John Creamer, Amboy ; Henry 
Christie, Melugin's Grove; James Christianer, Melu gin's Grove; 
Valentine Cortz, Amboy; Michael Casey, Amboy; Henry Clay, 
Amboy; Sylvanus Cole, Melugin's Grove; John Dykemau, 
Amboy ; Andrew DeWolf , Lee Center ; Frederick P. Fox, Amboy ; 
Samuel C. Fairchild, Melugin's Grove; Joseph C. Fishell, Sub- 
lette; Mills (or Miles) J. Gifford, Amboy; James B. Gray, Lee 
Center; Josiah K. Goodwin, Amboy; E. C. Hubbard, Amboy; 
John Hector, Amboy; Alfred Hastings, Sublette; Alexander 
Hamilton, Amboy; Theodore Hyde, Melugin's Grove; Simeon C. 
Huff, Amboy ; Willard Jones, Amboy ; James A. Keat, Amboy ; 
Charles D. Iveeue, Melugin's Grove; Nelson Lane, Melugin's 
Grove ; William J. Lynch, Am1)oy ; Nathan Megarry, Amboy ; 
Zachariah Mathews, Amboy; James McCalhun, Amboy; James 
H. Montgomery, Dixon ; Harry W. McKune, Sublette ; Jacob 
Nelson, Amboy; Stephen T. Parker, JNIelugin's Grove; Adam 
RoundenlDush, Amboy; T. Frank Rosbaeh, Amboy; Horson A. 
Rosecrans, Ashton; Charles Rimrill, Amboy; James Shultz, 
Franklin Grove ; Talman A. Selley, Amboy ; Amos E. Sweet, Melu- 
gin's Grove; Robert H. Thompson, Melugin's Grove; Edward 
Thompson, Melugin's Grove; Hudson R. Unks, Amboy; Thomas 
W. Willars, Amboy; Charles C. Wilson, Amboy; George P. Wood, 
Sublette; Remingion Warriner, Paw Paw; Patrick Ward, Ash- 
ton ; L. Eells Jackson, Sublette ; Richard E. Ash, Sublette ; Hugh 
Carr, Sublette; William H. Curley, Amboy; David Fairehilds, 
Melugin's Grove; Albert H. Higday, Melugin's Grove; Hannibal 
Keene, Paw Paw; Daniel McCoy, Franklin Grove; William 
Morse, Sublette; Sheldon Marsh, Melugin's Grove; Abram J. 
Rodabaugh, Amboy; Benjamin F. Shinneman, Melugin's Grove; 
Osgood Wyman, Amboy ; Ogden Fairehilds, Viola. 

Company F : Charles Cook, Dixon. 

Company G: Stephen E. Austin, Dixon; Samuel Genung, 
Dixon; Leroy Genung, Dixon; Warren Gemmg, Dixon; John E. 
Hayes, Dixon; Adam C. Hartzell, Dixon; John Linguin, Dixon. 

Company H: Edwin Wales, Paw Paw; Grove Arnold, Paw 
Paw. 



100 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Company K: Franklin HoUey, Lee Center; Jacob Wagner, 
Dixon ; Hercules Wood, Dixon. 

FffTEENTH REGIMENT 

John W. Vertress, Amboy, Co. D ; Francis A. Fish, Franklin 
Grove, Co. G; Robert S. Savidge, Franklin Grove, Co. G; Bascom 
Decker, Franklin Grove, Co. G. 

FIFTEENTH KEORGANIZED 

Company D : Ezekiel Giles, Dixon, Capt. ; Volney Bliss, Lee 
Center, 1st Lieut. ; Charles A. Harper, Nelson, 2d Lieut. ; William 
J. McVay, May, Sergeant; Milton E. Barker, Lee Center, Ser- 
geant; Charles P. Giles, Dixon, Sergeant; William Barber, Lee 
Center, Corporal ; Ralph O. Tripp, Lee Center, Corporal ; Albert N. 
Shoemaker, Lee Center, Corporal ; Samuel R. Lichtenberger, Har- 
mon, Corporal ; George Aschenbrenner, Lee Center ; Christopher 
Bierce, Amboy; Carlos C. Burr, Dixon; Charles W. Frost, Lee 
Center; Josiah L. Gray, Lee Center; Parnack B. Plaradan, Pal- 
myra ; Emery M. June, China ; Samuel H. Liedy, Dixon ; Calvin P. 
Linn, Lee Center ; James McConnell, May ; Barnett Neill, Lee Cen- 
ter; John H. Pentield, Lee Center; Elijah Robinson, Lee Center; 
James C. Vroman, Lee Center; William H. Woodj-att, Lee Cen- 
ter; Albert G. Whcaton, China; Cyrus Whipkey, Nelson; Cyrus 
L. Woodruff, Bradford. 

Company G: Albert Bliss, Jr., Sublette, Captain; Devalson J. 
Kimball, Paw Paw, 1st Lieut. ; Augustus S. Chappell, Dixon, 2d 
Lieut.; Henry Cole, Paw Paw, Sergeant; Cyrus C. Wood, Paw 
Paw, Sergeant; Henry C. Allen, Alto, Sergeant; John R. Miller, 
Amboy, Corporal ; Luther W. Mitchell, Palmyra, Corporal ; Rich- 
ard M. Gano, Alto, Corporal; Francis M. Mendenall. Amboy, 
Musician; Elijah Allen, Amboy; William J. Cockrum, Amboy; 
James H. Carlile, Amboy; William J. Caspen. Amboy; Isaac Den- 
hniii, Amboy; Thomas J. Dunkle, Amboy; Charles H. Dunlde, 
Amboy; Joshua Ep]ierson. Alto; John Harrington, Paw Paw; 
William Howell, Paw Paw: James H. Johnson. Alto; Isaac C. 
Jones, Paw Paw; John Jackson, Paw Paw; James T. Johnson, 
Marion; ]\Iathias Klinker, Marion; John Meeks, Amboy; Stephen 
J. Monis, Paw Paw; Thomas C. ]\IcClure, Marion; Elisha P. 
Nooner, Amboy; William J. Pearson. Amboy; John Poland, 
Wyoming; Francis E. Rogers, Wyoming; James A. Ratliff, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 101 

Amboy ; Ira D. Swartwout, Wyoming ; John Smith, Willow Creek ; 
John D. Sharp, Amboy; Wyatt Tucker, Amboy; John B. Titus, 
Brooklyn; Edward R. Therig, Marion; William Trowbridge, 
Marion; Isaac Williams, Amboy; Daniel Ward, Amboy; Joseph 
F. Wheeler, Brooklyn ; William R. Miller, Amboy ; Hiram Knep- 
per, Marion ; Henry R. Mon, Marion ; Henry H. Stidl, Marion. 

Company I : Benjamin F. ( iifford, Alto, Caj^taiu ; Septer Rob- 
erts, Viola, 1st Lieut. ; Nathaniel A. Nettleton, Willow Creek, 2d 
Lieut.; William Dearth, Palmyra, 2d Lieut.; Job T. Lane, Brook- 
lyn, Sergeant ; Benjamin Nettleton, Willow Creek, Sergeant ; Jere- 
miah Conway, Reynolds, Sergeant ; Marvin Reed, Alto, Sergeant ; 
Abram Pai'ker, Viola, Corporal ; Ciranville S. Dunton, Viola, Cor- 
poral; William J. Dawson, Brooklyn. Corporal; James Keghtliu- 
ger. Willow Creek, Corporal: Chandler Holton, Willow Creek, 
Corporal; Leander Walrath, Alto, Corporal; James O. Van Cam- 
pen, Viola, Corporal ; John D. Wheeler, Wyc^ming, Corporal ; Sam- 
uel Argraves, Viola ; Minor M. Avery, Viola ; Thomas Armstrong, 
Reynolds; Nathaniel C. Allen, Willow Creek; Adin Briggs, Wil- 
low Creek ; George S. Briggs, Willow Creek ; Bigelow Barnhart, 
Willow Creek ; Robert E. Blair, Viola ; Allen Cole, Viola ; Emanuel 
Depus, Viola; Frederick Erbes, Willow Creek; Edwin C. F'ree- 
man, Alto; John M. Fisk, Reynolds; Robert P. Golden, Wyo- 
ming; David Guthrie, Viola; Henry Grobe, Nelson; Joseph 
Hethrington, Amboy ; McClure Hyde, Brooklyn ; James W. Hyde, 
Brooklyn ; David Holdren, Brooklvn ; Samuel Hough, Brooklyn ; 
Santee'Hess, Willow Creek; Charles E. Hull. Willow Creek; 
James D. Hull, Brooklyn ; Henry E. Jewell, Viola ; Truman John- 
son, Viola ; Andrew Jackson, Willow Creek ; William D. Jenkins, 
Wyoming; Joseph Kugler, Willow Creek; John Kasler, China; 
John E. King, Palmyra; David Lewis, Brooklyn; Thomas 
Machen, Amboy ; Andrew McGaffey, Palmyra ; William J. Molu- 
gjn, Brooklyn; Clement B. Miller, Willow Creek; William S. 
Mills, Willow Creek; Daniel Mittan, Wyoming; John Rankin, 
China; John F. Seavey, Palmyra; Hamilton P. Stow, Wyoming; 
Charles D. Steinbrook, Willow Creek ; William Sherwood, Reyn- 
olds; William H. Taylor, Viola; Hosea R. Town, W3^oming; 
Christian C. Uhl, Nelson ; William Van Anker, Wyoirdng ; Charles 
Wright, Amboy ; Winfield S. Whitaker, Viola ; William" A. Whit- 
comb, Palmyra; Robert Wells, Willow Creek; John W. Wood, 
Willow Creek; Thomas F. Maddox, Marion; Peter Ruffin, Nelson. 

Daniel Woodmansee, Lee county. Co. E, 16th Reg. ; A. N. 
George, Lee county, Co. B, 19th Reg. ; Joseph R. Hunt, Lee county, 



102 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Co. E, 19th Reg.; Daiiit4 L. Yeomans, Lee county, Co. B, 19th 
Reg. ; John F. Clay, ^'iohl, Co. LI, 19th Reg. ; John Metcalf , Wyo- 
ming, Co. L>, 21st Reg.; James Nicholas, Wyoming, Co. B, 21st 
Reg. ; John Agler, Wyoming, Co. C, 21st Reg. ; Henry A. Black, 
Franklin Grove, Co. C, 21st Reg. ; Charles T. Bowers, Franklin 
Grove, Co. C, 21st Reg. ; Alfred A. Beede, Palmyra, Co. C, 21st 
Reg. ; David S. Bixby, Amboy, Co. C, 21st Reg. ; William Bru- 
baker, China, Co. C, 21st Reg. : John A. Barrett, Wyoming, Co. C, 
21st Reg.; Charles Bach, KSnblettc, Co. C, 21st Reg.; William 
Casterline, Franklin Grove, Co. C, 21st Reg.; Ira Dexter, May, 
Co. D, 21st Reg. ; Samuel Farseman, Willow Creek, Co. D, 21st 
Reg. ; Charles Fairehilds, Bradford, Co. D, 21st Reg. ; George W. 
Hall, Brooklyn, Co. D, 21st Reg. ; Albert Hnbbard, Brooklyn, Co. 
D, 21st Reg. ;' Christopher C. Hodges, Wyoming, Co. D, 21s"t Reg.; 
Phillip Hackett, Wyoming, Co. 1), 21st Reg.; Murray Johnson, 
Ma.y, Co. D, 21st Reg. ; Henry Johnson, China, Co. D, 21st Reg. ; 
Charles H. Kelly, W.yuming, Co. E, 21st Reg. ; Jacob Luft, Sub- 
lette, Co. E, 21st Reg. ; Avery Merriman, Wyoming, Co. E, 21st 
Reg. ; Emery R. Morrill, Palmyra, Co. E, 21st Reg. ; Harvey A. 
Morris, Wyoming, Co. E, 21st Reg. ; Oscar R. Morse, Sublette, 
Co. E, 21st Reg. ; Edgar A. Madison, Wyoming, Co. E, 21st Reg. ; 
James A. Smith, Dixon, Co. E, 21st Reg. ; Joseph A. Miller, Am- 
boy, Co. F, 21st Reg. : Henry Nicholas. Hamilton. Co. F, 21st Reg. ; 
Elijah R. OdeU, Sublette, Co. F, 21st Reg.; Hiram Pence, China, 
Co. F, 21st Reg. ; Richard A. Steele, Wyoming, Co. F, 21st Reg. ; 
John Smith, China, Co. F, 21st Reg. ; Charles B. Stanard, Brook- 
lyn, Co. F, 21st Reg.; Chas. W. Reed, Melugin's Grove, Co. I, 21st 
Reg.; George N. Hcott, Sublette, C<>. L 21st Reg.; Charles D. Tim- 
othy, Franklin ( irove, Co. I, 21st Reg. ; Seymour Warner, Wyo- 
ming, Co. I, 2]st Reg.; Henry Wolf, Sublette, Co. I, 21st Reg.; 
Charles II. Ingalls, Lee Center, Co. K, 21st Reg. ; George A. Sick- 
els, Dixon, Co. K, 21st Reg. ; Henry S. Palmer. Dixon, Com. Sergt.. 
22(1 Reg., enlisted Co. D; Thomas F. Beenier, Willow Creek, Co. 
D, 2:1(1 Reg.; norati(. Farnliam, Amboy, Co. F, 23d Reg.; Allen 
F. White, Dixon, 1st Corp., Co. H, 23d Reg.; Wm. Bundy, Dixon, 
Co. II, 23d Reg. ; Frederick Kuhre. Dixon, Co. H, 23d Reg. ; Taylor 
Morris, Dixon, Co. LI, 23d Reg. ; Sanmel McChesney, Dixon, Co. H, 
23d Reg. ; Miles L. Reed, Alto, 2d Lieut., Co. I, 23d Reg. : George 
Allen. Dixon, Co. I, 23d Reg.; Elisha H. Beadle, Dixon, Co. I, 
23d Reg.; Alfred Cornish, Dixon, Co. I, 23d Reg.; Peter Dule. 
Dixon, Co. L 23d Reg.; David 11. Henry. Dixon, Co. T. 23d Reg.; 
Michael S])()onei-, Dixon, Co. I, 23d Reg., this fellow deserted; 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY io:i 

James H. Thompsuu, Uixou, Co. I, 23cl Reg. ; jMichael (.iar.seu- 
smielit, Amboy, Co. A, 24tli Reg. David Abbott, JVliltou liallister 
and Peter Blackburu, all of China township, enlisted in the reg- 
ular army. Abbott died in camp of smallpox; Blackburn served 
his time and Hallister was rejected for phj^sical disabilities. 
Charles Montonk, Dixon, Co. B, 32d Reg. 

THIRTY-THIEn REGIMEXT 

Albert M. Brookfield, Dixon, Co. A ; Roljert A. Buskile, Marion, 
Co. A ; Charles Hanger, Marion, Co. A ; Walter C. Ross, Marion, 
Co. A ; Charles G. Howell, Dry Grove, Co. A ; Arents Ross, Dry 
Grove, Co. A; Newton G. B. Brown, Wyoming, Co. B; Lewis 
Thomas, Wyoming, 2d Lieut., Co. B ; AVilliam H. Ellis, Wyoming, 
Co. B ; Adolph Nehriug, Sugar Grove, Co. B ; William C. Rolls, 
Brooklyn, Co. C, Musician; James D. Brower, Sugar Grove, Co. 
D ; John Moore, Sugar Grove, Co. D. 

THIRTY-FOURTH REGIMENT 

Alexander P. Dysart, Colonel, Cbina ; Peter F. Walker, Lieut. 
Col., Bradford; Charles N. Levanway, Maj., Dixon; Henry D. 
Woods, Adjutant, Dixon; John L. Hostetter, Surgeon, Dixon; 
George W. Hewitt, Ass't Surgeon, China; Michael Decker, Chap- 
lain, China; Henry H. Glenn, Q. M. Sergi., Ashtou; B. F. Dysart, 
Q. M. Sergi., China ; John H. Wingert, Musician. China. 

Company A : Israel R. Babcock, Nelson ; Marcus Beal, Dixon ; 
Alpheus Beal, Dixon, Isaac R. Crygier, Dixon ; Frederick Kester, 
Dixon ; George A. Loner. Dixon ; David H. Merricks, Dixon. 

Company B: Stephen I. Richmond, Lee. (?) 

Company C: Benson Wood, China: Leander W. Rosecrans, 
China ; J. Wesley Williams, 1st Lieut., China ; J. Lindsay Block, 
1st Lieut., China; David Wingert, 1st Lieut., China; B. Frank 
Dysart, 2d Lieut., China ; Alexander Allen, 2d Lieut., China. 

Sergeants: Adoniram Keene, Bradford; David A. Glenn, 
China; Wesley J. Williams, China. 

Corporals: John P. Lahman, China: Samuel S. Worley. 
China; George E. Crum, China ; William A. Seitz, China; Thomas 
Flynn, Bradford; Sidney Davis, China: Samuel Fish. China. 

Musicians : Philo C. Williams, China : Jeremiah H. Stevens, 
China. 



104 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Privates : Frank Abner, China ; Alexander Allen, China ; John 
Adams, Bradford ; Matthias Blair, China ; Isaac Barnard, China ; 
Josiah G. Bowers, China ; Miles Bahen, China ; Henry E. Brown, 
China ; Thomas W. Brown, China ; Francis H. Brown, China ; Wal- 
lace Butler, China ; Jacob Burgy, China ; Robert C. Boyd, China ; 
James P. Carter, Bradford; Jason F. Calwell, China; Robert Cal- 
well, China; Alexander Depuy, Dixon; Jacob B. Emmert, China; 
Philip Ensminger, China; Jonathan B. Fellows, China; John G. 
Gillott, China ; Royal Harkness, China ; Henry Hoffmaster, Brad- 
ford; Ahdn Holbrook, China: William Hunt, China; Jacob I. 
Hunt, China ; Jacob B. Hoft, China ; Alexander P. Hittle, China ; 
Thomas Jackson, China; Morris Johnson, China; William W. 
Kerr, China ; Philip Kagrice. China ; George W. Kesler, China ; 
William H. Knipper, China; Joseph Laccerte, China; John H. 
Lytle, China; Joshua E. Lahmau, China; Mathias Marker, Ash- 
ton; James Morrissey, China ; Edward CNeal, China; George W. 
Pense, China ; John Roach, China ; Leander W. Rosecrans, China ; 
William Rice, China; Chas. Santee, China; John G. Sartorius, 
China ; John N. Stransner, China ; Jacob C. Sunday, China ; Wil- 
liam Townsend, China; Henry M. Nance, China; James T. Will- 
roy, China; Enoch Ward, China; Charles P. Wittman, China; 
David Wingert. China ; John H. Wingert, China ; Ralph Young, 
China. 

Veterans: William H. Griffith, China; Cynis Griffith, China; 
Benjamin R. Royce. China; Samuel S. Worley, China. 

Recruits: David Buck, Ashton; Abraham F. Buck, Ashton; 
George D. Black, China; Fi-anklin H. Crumb, China; George W. 
Cunard. Bradford; Franklin W. Durfee, China; George W. East- 
wood, China; Jacob W. Foreman, Ashton; William H. Freed, 
China; Josephus F. Fish, China ; George W. Glenn, Ashton ; Henry 
H. Glenn, Bradford; Aurilius Gaslin, China; George Grotlie, 
China; Herman Grothe, China; William H. Griffith, China; Cyims 
Griffith, China; Otto Hamer, China; Thomas Hayes, China; Eu- 
gene Leech, China ; William W. Lahman. China : Edward McGuire, 
China; Henry A. Nichols, China; William A. Rice, China; Ben- 
jamin R. Royce, Ashton ; George W. Schmucker, Marion ; George 
L. Stoddard, China; David N. Thompson, China; Philo C. Wil- 
liams, China; James J. Wright. China; Jacob A. Warner, Brad- 
ford; LTiram M. Wilson, China; Luthei' D. Wood, China ; William 
T. Bullis, Dixon, who was transferred from 104th. 

Company D: Truman L. Pratt, Capt., Dixon; William S. 
Wood, Capt., Dixon; Simon B. Dexter, Capt., Amboy; Charles 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 105 

Eccles, Capt., Palmyra; Prancis Forsythe, 1st Lieut., Bixou; 
Henry A. Jeffs or Julft's, 1st Lieut., (Jliiiia; Speucer (Jouu, 2d 
Lieut., Wyoming. 

Sergeants: Thomas 1). Lake, Lee Center; Daniel C. Young. 
Wyoming. 

Corporals: Robert J. Hunt, Wyoming; Henry i). Wood, Pal- 
mp'a; Anson E. Tlnmmiel, Palmyra; Henry E. Fuller, Dixon; 
Samuel 1. Tussey, Sublette ; John D. Dole, Wyoming. 

Musicians : Melzar P. Barnes, Lee Center ; Henry M. Barnes, 
Lee Center. 

Wagoner: Morris Johnson, Sublette. 

Privates: John Albers, Palmyra; Eugene Brewer, Wyoming; 
John H. Brinham, Dixon; George S. Burdick, Nachusa ; William 
R. Burdick, Nachusa; Jerome Backus, Wyoming; Oliver P. Bar- 
ber, W,yoming; Joseph P. Brewer, Bradford; Henry C. Case, 
Wyoming ; Philatus B. Carver, Dixon ; James P. Chapman, Wyo- 
ming; Mordeeai T. Childs, Nelson; John W. Crawford, Dixon; 
Josiah J. Deck, Palmyra, David H. Dorn, Brooklyn; George P. 
Ehrman, Dixon; Wellington Eaton. Wyoming; Charles N. (or F. ) 
Eaton, Wyoming; John C. Forbes, Sublette; Henry Frerichs. 
Dixon ; Lewis Fenstemaehor, Hamilton ; Frederick S. Fris])ec, Lee 
<,V'nter; James Grogan. Dixon; Patrick J. Hall, Palmyra; George 
H. Hunuuerston, Dixon; Cliarles W. Hunt, Wyoming; John L. 
Henrick, Wj^oming; Joseph Healion, Dixon; Charles G. Jewett, 
Sublette; Charles S. Johnson, Sublette; Michael Kileen, Dixon; 
Fred F'. Klosterman, Palmyra; Cornelius Kelleher, Wyoming; 
Orlando Kicbiey, Wyoming; William J. Lohr. Dixon; ]\Iorris 
Furman, Dixon; John McBride, Dixon; Alfred T. Mead, Pal- 
myra ; George D. Mead, Lee Center ; Henry Montgomery, Dixon ; 
Henry Prahn, Amboy; Gould H. Perry, Dixon; Henry Peeks, 
Dixon ; George W. Pierce, Dixon ; Abram Swartwout, Sublette ; 
AMUiam Saylor, Dixon; Albert Slater, Palmyra; John Stidl, 
Dixon ; Alvah F. (or T. ) Stewart, Palmyra ; Solomon Stewart, Am- 
boy ; Joseph Shelhanier, Dixon ; Jacob Senniff, Dixon ; James Tal- 
bot, Wyoming; Thomas Twohey, Dixon; George Williamson, 
Dixon; David R. Wolverton, Dixon; William Wendle, Dixon; 
Charles A. Wetherbee, Lee Center; Abner R. Wills, Wyoming; 
Ira Wales. Wyoming. 

Veterans : Melzer E. Barnes, Dixon ; Henry F. Fuller, Dixon ; 
Robert J. Hunt, Dixon; Henry A. Jeff, Dixon; Morris Johnson. 
Dixon ; Byron K. May, Dixon ; Samuel L Tussey, Dixon ; Henry D. 
Wood, Dixon. 



106 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Eecrmts: Daniel W. BaUes, Cliina; Bryan Brogan, DLxou; 
Patrick R. Burke, Dixon; John B. Claassen, Palmyra; Golrnn- 
bus W. Crumb, CMua; Hiram Cooper, Dixon; Patrick Drew, 
Dixon ; Thomas Drew, Dixon ; ^kiarmaduke Eckles, Palmyra ; Fred- 
erick E. ElUuger, DLxon; Thomas Eakles, Palmyra; Clifford East- 
wood, Palmyra ; Jacob Eggcrt, Dixon; Orris D. Eaton, Wyoming; 
Domiuick Ford, Dixon ; Adelbert A. Fletcher, Dixon ; Frederick 
Fellows, Hamilton; Thomas (iatt'any, Dixon; Michael Caft'any, 
Dixon; Francis E. Gates, Wyoming; Ayres Gable, Wyoming; 
Mott N. Goble, Wyoming; Robert C. Gaston, Palmyra; Lewis 
Gleichman, Palmyra; Ira B. Huttou, Palmyra; James N. Heurie, 
Palmyra ; William Haire, Palmyra ; Alvan f?. Johnson, Wyoming; 
Charles W. Jackson, Palmyra; Michael J. Killen, Lee Center; 
Eleazer J. Kelly, Amboy ; Dedrich Kruger, Palm}a'a ; Truman H. 
Kruger, Wyoming; James Landers, Amboy; James Lonergan, 
Dixon; Henry Lawson, Wyoming; (Jeorge Lamkin, Palmyra; 
Charles W. Morgan, Palmyi'a ; (ieorge MeBride, Dixon; John 
Mosgrove, Dixon; Echnund Murphy, Dixon; Thomas McNally, 
Dixon ; Lamburtis W. Marsh, Sublette ; Sidney L. Morgan, Pal- 
myra; Sidney S. Newell, Dixon; William R. Putnam, Wyoming; 
Wyckham C. Reynolds, Palmyra; Daniel E. Robbins, Dixon; 
James H. Robinson, Amboy; (iust IT. L. Sartorius, Palmyra; Nel- 
son F. Swartwout, SulJette; Samuel Shaw, Palmyra; Peter V. 
Shell, Marion; William H. Seliock, Palmyra; Emanuel Schick, 
Palmyra; Josiah O. Tiffets, Wyoming; Francis J. Tilton, Pal- 
myra; Cornelius Vandervoort, Brooklyn; George W. Witte, 
Dixon; Abner R. Wells, Lee Center. 

Comijany E : In tlic I'liirtx-i'oiirtli, many enlistments were from 
Marion. They are especially munerous in this company. Before 
inserting them, I read them over carefully. I did not recognize 
one name. Nevertheless, as this ^Marion has been thrown so closely 
to Lee, Ogle and Whiteside, I cannot see Iioav it can be the Marion 
in southern Illinois. The enlistments from this Mai'ion accord- 
ingly are placed herein. If they are not in Lee county's quota, 
no harm will be done. If they are, it would be a grave omission 
to leave them out: Henry Wild, Capt., Clarion ; Samuel L. Patrick, 
Capt., Marion; Edward H. Wild. 1st Lieut., Marion; Hallis Hall, 
2d LicTit.. Marion. 

Sergeants: Julius T. Comstock. Marion; Daniel W. AVild. 
Mai'ion. 

Corporals: James P. Stewart, Marion; George Zink, Marion; 
George R. Dewev, Marion. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 107 

Privates: Alplieus S. ISlakeley, Mariou; De Wayne K. Calkins, 
Marion; Heniy D. Croucli, Mariou; William Devine, Marion; 
Jotm Hartnett, Marion; Louis H. Lee, Marion; Janaes Millis, 
Marion; Charles L. Xorthrup, Marion; Jolui Zinlv, Marion. 

Recruits : Jolm Dolan, Marion ; George W. Green, Marion. 

Company F: Arnold L. Harrington, Sergi;., Wyoming; Wil- 
liam L. Bronson, Corp., Dixon. 

Privates: Noah B. Bradbury, Dixon; George L. Richardson, 
Dixon; Clinton D. Taylor, Dixon. 

Recruits : Asa D. Leidy, Dixon ; Matliias S. Price, Cliina. 

Company H : William Kroener, Recruit, Dixon. 

Company I : John D. Hostetter, Recruit, Dixon. 

Unassigned Recruits : John C. Bond, Dixon. 

THIRTY-SIXTH KEGIMENT 

Company D : James H. Foote, trausf . from 88tli, Dixon ; John 
McCaig, Marion ( ? ) ; Marcellus Shepherd. Lee couuty, unassigued. 

THIRTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT 

Company D: John Fane, Musician, Lee county, (Dixon?). 

THIRTY-NINTH REGIMENT 

Samuel S. Linton, Major, Willov^^ Creek. 

Company D: Jonathan F. Lintou, 1st Lieut, Willow Creek; 
Ezra E. Johnsou. Corp.. Willow Creek. 

Piivates: Edwin Atkinson, Willow Creek; Thomas .\rm- 
strong. Willow Creek; Frank Guvott. Willow Creek; John 
Stellyer, Willow Creek ; Jacob Swab. Willow Creek ; Nelson Walls, 
Veteran, Willow Creek; Ira W. Green. Recruit, Mariou. 

Company G: Andrew J. Lewis, Amboy; Johu Lewis, Amboy; 
William H. Root. Amboy (uuassigiied recruit). 

FORTY-SECOND REGIMENT 

Company C : Hiram McCoy, a substitute, Dixon. 
Company H: Elisha Wilcox. Amboy ((m another page his P, 
O. is marked Naperville). 



108 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

FOKTY-FIFTH REGIMEXT 

Company B : Kingsley E. Olds, 1st Lieut., Dixou. 
Compauy C: Wm. W. Weiubreuner, Dixou. 
Company D: .John R. Dawson, 1st Lieut., Dixon: Edwin O. 
Hauunond, 2d Lieut., I )ix(»n ; Samuel T. Clarlc, Dixon. 
Company H : Thomas M. AYallace, Dixou. 

FORTY-SIXTH REGIMENT 

Henry H. Woodliury. Adjutant, Dixon. 

Compauy C: Niehohis Liter, Alto (?). 

Com]>any D: Y\"illiam F. Wilbur, Capt., Sublette; Juel L. 
Coe, 1st Lieut., Amboy; Henry H. Woodbury, 2d Lieut, Amljoy. 

Sergeants: Everett Rollins, Amboy: Uriah J. Terry, Wyo- 
ming ; Hial Pike, Amboy. 

Corporals: John Trowbridge, Sublette; James W. Holmes. 
Amboy ; George W. Manning, Hamilton. 

Musicians: Nathan Sanborn, Dixou: Walter N. Sanborn, 
Dixon. 

Privates: Abel Angler, Sublette; Leander Angier, Sublette; 
George Ash, Amboy; John Burrington, Amboy: Da^dd S. Bixby, 
Amboy; Gilbert L. Buttertield, Wyoming; Roderick D. Bird, 
Amboy; George S. Barnard, Amboy; Eben C. Bradljury, Dixon; 
Freeman F. Crocker. Wyoming; Daniel Cromwell. Dixon; Daniel 
Clark, Wyoming; Thomas S. Crane, Hamilton; John Dexter, 
Amboy ; John W. Dow% VCvi )ming ; Fillm 'n Fenstemaker, Sublette ; 
Harlan D. Forbes, Sublette; Aspasia Graves, Amboy; Jacob 
L. Holmes, Amboy; Jerome R. Holton, Sublette; Lorenzo Ivipley, 
Hanulton; Leonard Lovering, Sublette: Henry Lovering, Sub- 
lette; Benjamin W. Morse, Amboy; John Madden, Amboy; James 
Myers, Anilx)y; James Mely, Wyoming; John McCarty, Amboy; 
Henry Meyer, ^Nlay; Myroii Y. Merchant ( ?); Jacob W. Mulli- 
gan (?); Samuel Millard, Amboy; Jacob Post, Ainboy; Nelson 
Parsons, Hamiltou; Clark P. Roff. Aui))oy: John Smith, Amboy; 
Duri'cll Stevens, Hamilton ; < )ii\cr S.uisou. Amboy; .lolui E. Whit- 
ing, Amboy: ( 'harlcs l>. Whiting. Auilxiy; Philander H. Woolsey. 
Amboy. 

ixccniits: (>s{-ar lloxic, I )i.\oii ; -James j,nhcy. Dixon. 
<'om]);iiiy E: 1-". A. Aiidi-us. AshtoU : Jesse G. Hodges; Ash- 
ton; Risdon AJoxley. Ashton ; Williani McBane, Ashton; Jauies 
P. Smith, Ashton: J;nues R. Shultz. Asliton; Mattliias Simmons, 
Ashton. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY io!i 

Recruits: Charles E. Austin, Aniboy; Juliu Burke, Anibuy; 
Clii'istian Plank, Aniboy; Jesse R. Waddell, Amboy, trausf. from 
lltli ; David B. Wilson, Amboy. 

Company H: Jolm tSteveus, Capt., JJixun; made Judge Ad- 
vocate and Major ; killed at Sliilob, Ai»ril 6, 1862 ; Thomas A. Pier- 
onet, Amboy. 

John M. Murphy, Charles C. Mason, Sergeants; Abraham 
Fuller, Corp, Dixon ; Isaac Little, Musician, Dixon. 

Privates: William J. Carpenter, Dixon; Demming Carpen- 
ter, Dixon; John Coyle, Dixon; Frederick Ceames, Lee Center; 
Franklin Case ( i) ; Jacob T. Clark ( '?) ; James Dornan, Dixon ; 
William Dunphy, Dixon; Jerome Emerson, Ashton; John Fitz- 
gerald, Dixon; Jolm Gorman, Dixon; Burton M. Horton ('^); 
Charles H. Iveniston, Ashton; Henry G. Miller, Amboy; Henry 
McCarroll, Ashton; George H. Perry, Dixon; Alexander Patter- 
son, Melugin's Grove. Tliis man Patterson is put down in thi' 
Adj. Gen. ]'ei:»ort as a deserter. ^Villiam Tracy, Dixon; Stanton 
C. Tracy, China. 

Recruits: Woodbury Al^ins, Marion; Herman Atenham, Ash- 
ton; Dennis Collins, Dixon; Thomas Conunisky, Alto; Orin A. 
Corbin, Alto; James J. Dolan, Dixon; Wm. Hoehstetter, Ashton; 
Oakley B. Herriek, Alto; John Kiernan, Ashton; Murthy Mur- 
phy, Dixon; Thomas McBride, Dixon; Martin Roach, (Jhina; 
George H. Saunders, Alto; John Tileher, Ashton. 

Recruits: Roderick D. Bird, Amboy; George S. Barnard, Am- 
boy; Eben C. BradbTuy, Dixon; Orin Coulton, Lee Center; 
Aspacia Graves. Amboy; James W. Holmes, Amboy; Wilfoi-d 
McCain, Dixon; James Myers, Amboy; John Madden, Amboy; 
Martin L. Ritz. Anil)oy: Tioracc P. Sawyer, J>ee Centei': Oliver 
Sanson, AmV)ov. 



Recruits transferred from the 11th Infantry. Wilson .). 
Fisher, Amboy ; Thomas B. Fisher, Aml)oy ; Charles H. Gordonier, 
Amboy; August Leiisch, Amboy; William E. ^loree, Amboy; 
Arthur Marigold, Amboy; Epln-aim Sloan, Andioy ; Patrick Shuly, 
Amboy ; Kinney Wood, Ashton ; George H. Wood, Ashton : 
Everett E. Chase, Amboy; George F. Morgan, Amboy; John A. 
Pieronnet, Amboy; Henry E. Wiley, Amboy. 

Comi)anv I: Hezekiah H. Bullock. Capt., Dixon. 

Privates: Curtis Cannon. Amboy; James E. Lawton, Dixoii ; 
Newell Pratt. Dixon; Edward A. Snvder, Dixon. 



no HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Veterans : Daniel Cromwell, Dixon ; Thomas S. Crane, Hamil- 
ton; John W. Dow, Wyoming; Harlan D. Forbes, Sublette; 
Jerome R. Holton, Sublette ; Lorenzo Kipley, Hamilton; Benjamin 
W. Morse, Amboy; Jacob Post, Amljoy; Philander H. Woolsey, 
Aniboy. 

Company K: Cornelius Heings, Pahnyra; Jacob Pfordt, 
Lee (?). 

FIFTY-FIRST REGIMENT 

Company D : Oliver Ldniunds, Brooklyn. 

FIITY-SECOXD REGIMENT 

Company B : Frederick Butz, Maytown ; Matthew Bort, Sub- 
lette; Andrew Curtis, Dixon; Christian Koerner, Sublette; Con- 
rad Schwab, Sublette; Philip Schwab, Sublette. 

Company H : Jidius A. Hanover, Ainboy ; Jacob Hoag, Amboy. 
(Last named doubtful.) 

Company I: Charles H. Hatch, Dixon; Charles H. Jackson, 
Dixon. 

FFFTY-THIRl) REGIMENT 

William W. Welch, Surgeon, Amboy. 

Company D: Harve}' Hallock, Corp., Wyoming; Alonzo E. 
Avery, Paw Paw, but possibly the DeKalb county Paw Paw; 
William H. Boardman, Wydming; Oi'ris Chapman, Paw Paw ( 1) ; 
Clark Eaton, Paw Paw (?); William Firkins, Paw Paw (?); 
John Firkins, Paw Paw ( ?) ; Orson Haskell, Paw Paw ( ?) ; Frank 
P. Hallock, Wyoming; Charles W. Stow, Wyoming. These Paw 
Paw names are familiar to both the village of Paw Paw in Wyo- 
ming townsliip and to the tii\viishi[) (if Paw Paw contiguous) in 
DeKalb county. I am compelled, therefore, to include them all. 

FIFTY-FIFTH RF(iTl\ri;XT 

Company I: Josejih W. Crocker, Willow Creek; Charles A. 
Crocker. Wyoming; Dennis Holdren (or Holden), Brooklyn; 
George Blahs, Lee county; George W. Crocker. Willow Creek (or 
Yellow Creek); Henry Kepper. Lee county; William A. Lynn, 
Sublette; Henry Smith, Sublette. Tn a history of the r)5th regi- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY m 

ment written by a committee of the regiment, Joseph W. Crocker 
is reported as deserting while on sick furlough. 

FIFTY-SEVEXTH REGIMENT 

Company C : John William Guthrie, Willow Creek. 

riFTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT 

Company H: A. King, Dixon; Moses B. King, Dixon. 

FIFTY-NINTH REGIMENT 

Company F: John Chambers, Dixon. 
Company K : John M. Van Osdel, Capt., Dixon. 

SIXTY-FOURTH REGIMENT 

Company D: Henry H. Dow, Dixon; John Reeves, Dixon; 
Robert Shannon, Dixon. 

SIXTY-FIFTH REGIMENT 

Company F : Burton C. Kerr, Dixon ; Levi Smith, Dixon. 

Company I : Milton Curtis, Dixon ; Thomas Harvey, Amboy ; 
Charles Harvey, Amboy; Philip McXanny. Amboy; John L. 
Smith. Dixon; Christian Smith, Clap Grove. 

SIXTY-FIFTH CONSOLIDATED 

Company C : Arthur Barrett, Dixon ; James French, Dixon ; 
William French, Dixon; John Goddard, Dixon; Xathaniel Hol- 
jingshead, Dixon; James Mularkey, Dixon; Samuel Nettletou, 
Dixon. 

SIXTY-FIFTH CONSOLIDATED 

Company D: William H. Johnsou. 1st Corp., Dixon; Daniel 
Mills, Dixon; Joseph E. Clifton, Dixon; August Cschioir-he. 
Dixon ; Michael Musser, Dixon. 



112 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

SIXTY-FIFTH CONSOLIDATED 

Transferred from Niuety-second 

Company G : George J. Wilcoxiu. 1st Sergi., Dixon ; Francis 
A. Free, Sergt., Dixon; Prestt.n K. Hill, Sergt., Dixon; T)avid W. 
Hassen, Sergt., Dixon; John H. Sclilott, Sergt, Dixon; Aaron 
Rood, Corp., Dixon; Emannel Gorgas. Corp., Dixon; Clark B. 
Jewell, Corp., Dixon; Anthony Gaffron. Corp., Dixon; Win. H. 
Cnllens, Corp., Dixon; Joseph H. Hunt, Corp., Dixon; Edward 
Norton, Corp., Dixon ; James Allison, Dixon ; Florilla Artz. Dixon ; 
Thomas E. Austin, Dixon; Elnnis Baker, Dixon; Nelson S. Ben- 
tley, Dixon; Irvin Belknap, Dixon ; AVni. L. Bennett. Dixon ; Elias 
G. Bowers, Dixon; Sam])le J. Clark. Dixon; Josei)h E. (Jooley, 
Dixon; David D. Culver. Dixon ; Chas. Dugan, JJixon ; John Davis, 
Dixon; Solomon Engleman, Dixon; Jacob Engleman, Dixon; 
Frederick Eszman, Dixon ; Henry Fox, Dixon ; Geo. Fox, Dixon ; 
John J. Fowble, Dixon ; Thomas Fletcher, Dixon ; John Gregory, 
Dixon; Chas. Graham, Dixon; Aaron Garnhart, Dixon; Daniel 
Galusba, Dixon; John H. Heleme, Dixon; John Hoffman, Dixon; 
Josiah D. Hull, ])ixon; Francis D. Holford, Dixon; Edward 
Hackett, Dixon ; Wellington Jenkins, Dixon ; Alvah B. Knowlton. 
Dixon; John C. Killmore, Dixon; Wm. A. Kimble, Dixon; Rich- 
ard H. Eee, Dixon; Grin B. Tjawrcncc. Dixon; William B. Lacy. 
Dixon; .lolm MoAvry. Dixon; Wellington Moriis. Dixon; Thomas 
McNeal, Dixon; Thomas Mitchell. Dixon; Ethan MeCord. Dixon; 
Van I)Uren Merchant. Dixon; William Mc('oy. Dixon; Maui'ice P. 
Osborne, Dixon; Abrani Pittman, Dixon; Benjamin I'ittman. 
Dixon; Daniel Pittman. Dixon; David Pittman, i^ixon ; Sanniel 
E. Parsons, Dixon; Jesse Pennypacker, Dixon; Abbott Reese, 
Dixon; William H. S. Reese. Dixon; Edward Rogers. Dixon; 
Henry Remley, Dixon; John Royce. Dixon; Simeon Reynolds. 
Dixon; James L. Reed. Dixon; Alexander Rhodes. Dixon; Henry 

A. Smith. Dixon; l?ol)ert A. Sniideisoii. Dixon; William Shoe- 
maker, Dixon; William W. Shilling. Dixon; James T. Smith. 
Dixon; Shehhni W. Shaffei'. Dixoii; Xoah Sweet. Dixon; Eugene 

B. Thorpe, Dixon; Alonzo F. Tilton. Dixon; George W. Tilton, 
Dixon; Grin B. Tilton. Dixon; Connnodore P. Tilton. Dixon; 
Geoi'ge AV. Ventioner. Dixon; William P. AVeinbrenner. Dixon; 
Francis .L AVillianis. Dixon; Leonard AVestbi'ook. Dixon; James 
H. Wardsworth. Dixon; William E. Yonkle. Dixon; Svlvester 
Y^ouker, Dixon. 



HISTORY OF LEE COL NTV 11:^ 

SIXTY-FIFTH REGIMENT 

Transferred from Xinety-secoud Illinois 

Company I: William W. 8tahl, 1st Sergt., Dixon; William 
P. Mootheart, Sergt., Dixon ; William Huston, Sergt., Dixon ; Sid- 
ney L. Robbins, Corp., Dixon; John C. Colton, Corp., Dixon; John 
Westcott, Corp., Dixon; Jonathan Dingham, Corp., Dixon; Josc])h 
Bundage, Corp., Dixon; Andrew ( 'utzer, Corp., Dixon; Duneaii M. 
Peeley, Corp., Dixon ; Wellington J. Dennore, Corp., Dixon ; Alexis 
Allbin, Dixon; Absalom Armagost, Dixon; Silas Andrews, Dixon ; 
Enoch Atwood, Dixon; AndreAV Atwood, Dixon; Patton H. At- 
wood, Dixon ; Samuel Arty, Dixon ; Nelson Beardsley, Dixon ; 
Henry Beck, Dixon; Al)raham Benedict, Dixon; David M. Ballert. 
Dixon ; Jacob Ballert, Dixon ; Henry BrjTiian, Dixon ; Chas, 
Buchanan, Dixon ; Hiram Bunker, Dixon ; Wilson M. Burbridge, 
Dixon; William H. Butler, Dixon; AFartin • J. Bennett, Dixon; 
Wentle Bartholomew, Dixon; Julius Bisbee, Dixon; Eugene S- 
Churchill, Dixon; Robert Cronkelton, Dixon; Thomas Crany, 
Dixon; Franklin L. Crouch. Dixon; Harrison Coddingtou, Dixon; 
James H. Cox, Dixon; John R. (Chambers, Dixon; Lewis E(»y, 
Dixon; Edwin Fox, Dixon; Henry H. Cates, Dixon; Christian 
Glany, Dixon; Peter L. Cennnill, Dixon; (Jeorge H. Cage, Dixon; 
Sanuiel Harshbarger, Dixon; Patrick Hart, Dixon; William II. 
Haggert, Dixon; Sanford E. Hays, Dixon; .roseph Henderson, 
Dixon; John Harrington, Dixon; Tjcwis Johnson, Dixon; Wil- 
liam Knott, Dixon; Alfred L. Kemp, Dix(m; Robert Lyle, Dixon; 
George Lawyer, Dixon; John S. Laney, Dixon; Henry W. Lewis, 
Dixon; Baton H. Lewis, Dixon; Thomas McCarthy, Dixon; Fred- 
erick McMillan, Dixon; John G. Matthews, Dixon; Samuel R. 
Matthews, Dixon ; Malcolm McEathron, Dixon ; Jacob McCom- 
mond, Dixon ; Jared McCallister, Dixon ; Richard ^Nlason, Dixon ; 
Richard ISTewman, Dixon; Allen Oakes, Dixon; Luther R. Odell, 
Dixon; Wm. A. Odell, Dixon; Luther Pickard. Dixon; John 
Palmer, Dixon; Samuel Portner, Dixon; Henry R. Playf(U'd, 
Dixon; Pasley A. Phillips, Dixon; John R. Pagies, Dixon; George 
Pratt, Dixon ; Lafayette Richardson, Dixon ; Isaac Royer, Dixon : 
George W. Rea, Dixon; Charles Rodeka, Dixon ; Henry W. Stock. 
Dixon; Edward Suffraine, Dixon; Martin Y. Shoop, Dixon: 
Arthur L. Skells, Dixon; George W. Sindlinger, Dixon; William 
W. Tennis. Dixon; Chauncey L. Tracey, Dixon; Alfred B. Tayhn-, 



114 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Dixon ; William L. Taylor, Dixou ; Milo L. Way, Dixou ; Andrew 
Wheeler, Dixon ; Charles White, Dixon ; John H. WaUvup, Dixon. 

SIXTY-SIXTH KEGIMENT 

Company C : Charles C. Austin. 

SIXTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT 

Company C : Asa Headen. PaAv Paw. 

SIXTY-NINTH REGIMENT 

Company H : James W. Reardou, Capt., Dixon ; Eli B. Baker, 
1st Lieut., Dixon; Edwin F. Bennett, 2d Lieut., Dixon; John D. 
Heaton, 1st Serg-t., Dixon; L. Michael Kenans, Sergt., Dixon; 
Edward Perkins, Sergt., Dixon ; Philo C. Williams, Sergt., Frank- 
lin Grove ; George D. Black, Sergt., Franklin Grove ; Germanus 
Knepper, Corp., Dixon; George Johnson, Corp., Franklin Grove; 
Hannibal Keen, Corp., Franklin (Jrove; John Little, Corp., Dixon; 
Leon H. Moore, Corp., Dixon; I'riah Stronp, Corp., Dixon; 
Jerome A. Martin, Corp., Dixon ; Joseph Ledger, Corp., Dixon ; A. 
Dana Castle, Musician, Dixou ; AYaketield Ayres, INIusiciau, Dixon ; 
Aiuauzel D. Burr, Dixon; Joseph Bundage, Xachusa ; William 
Black, Dixon ; James Burkey, Franklin Grove ; Joseph Cartright, 
Dixon; James F. Dearth, Dixon; Henry J. Heeren, Dixon; James 
Hatch, Dixon; John W. Hutchings, Franklin Grove; Edwin W. 
Hiue, Dixon ; Thomas Harvey, Amboy ; Julius Keyes, Dixon ; Dan- 
iel Kegarice, Franklin Grove; Charles Keseuachre. Franklin 
Grove; Spencer Kimball, Dixou; Charles B. Knudson, Dixon; 
Charles McCristal, Dixon; William Murphy, Dixou; William E. 
Meyers, Dixou; Patrick McXertney, Dixou; William ^icYay, 
Dixon; Stephen Oakley, Dixou; Barton O'Xeal, Dixou; James 
Pankhurst, Dixou; George Pate. Dixou; Jolui H. Richardson, 
Dixon; Owen Smith. Dixou; Aluuson Smith. Dixon; Mark A. 
Spafford, Dixou; John Still, Lee Center; Albion Still, Lee Center; 
Nathan F. Siples, Dixou ; James D. Sylee, Dixon; Herbert Vaude- 
bui'gh, Dixou; Randall AVilliams. Ashton; Charles Zales, Dixou; 
Charles W. M(U'g;ni, Dixou; Dnuiel Massey, Dixou; Solomon A. 
Vroomder, Dixon. 

Company K : Wil])ur H. Tousley, 1st Lieut., Amboy ; Harrison 
T. Pratt, Sergt., Aml)oy; Emerson W. Patten, Sergt., Amboy; 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 115 

Lewis J. Waterbuiy, Coi'i)., Lee Center ; James A. Martin, Corp., 
Amboy; Jolin F. Doane, Aniboy; Charles B. Fox, Amboy; George 
Greenliow, Amboy ; William H. Heegaard, fSublette ; James A. 
McGarry, Amboy; Barney McCoy, Amboy; George W. Post, 
Amboy ; Jasper oST. Pettierew, Aiiiboy ; John L. Skinner, Jr., Ana- 
boy ; Fayette D. Strickland, Amboy ; Nelson F. Strickland, Amboy ; 
Samuel A. Simpson, Amboy; Oscar Spangier, Amboy; Charles 
E. Thompson, Ambo.y; Lewis A. Trowbridge, Franklin Grove. 

SEVENTY-SECOND KEGIMENT 

Company D: Calvin Gifford, Dixon. 

Company G : John Clink, Sul)k'tte ; Evan C. Bradlniry, Frank- 
Jin Grove; Alouzo Johnson, Brooklyn. 

SEVENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT 

George Ryon, Colonel, Wyoming; James A. Watson, Major, 
Dixon; Jerome W. Hollenbeck, Adjutant, Dixon; Orlando L. 
French, Adjutant, Dixon; Jolm E. Remington, Quartermaster, 
Dixon; James Reed, Quartermaster, Dixon; George W. Phillips, 
Surgeon, Dixon; John C. Corbus, Assistant, Brooklyn; Silas D. 
Frost, Sergi. Major, Lee Center: William Paukhurst, Couuiiis. 
Sergt., Dixon. 

Company A: After the promotion of James A. Watson from 
Captain to Major: Ezekiel Giles, Captain, Dixon; William Par- 
ker, J]-., Captain, Dixon ; Frederick 0. Headly, 1st Lieut., Dixon ; 
Alfred K. Buckaloo, 2d Lieut., Dixon; Frederick A. Headly, 1st 
Sergt., Dixon. 

Sergeants: Horace Judson, Dixon; William J. Cogswell, 
Dixon ; Joseph A. Hill, Dixon. 

Corporals : John Williamson, Dixon ; Louis H. Burket, Dixon ; 
Edwin J. Jones, Dixon; Isaac E. Barr, Dixon; George M. Put- 
nam, Dixon; Ezra Cooper, Dixon; David H. Wagner, Dixou ; 
Anthony Zimmer, Dixon. 

Musicians: James L. Backus, Dixon; David Freeman, Dixon. 

Privates: Samuel Allen, Dixon; Charles E. Andersou, Dixon; 
John Beal, Jr., Dixon; Israel A. Benner, China; James E. Bing- 
ham, Dixon; John H. Burgher, Palmyra; Josiah Brad))ury, 
China ; Joseph R. Courtwright, Dixon ; John Catavaugh, Dixon ; 
Fred A. Clark, Dixon; John Clark. Dixon; Josiah Cook, Nelson; 



116 HIS'lORV OF LEE COL NTY 

Julm N. Cookson, Dixoii ; Alonzo Cogswell, Nelsou; Tliumas S. 
Coft'ey, Palmyra; Aduiiiram J. Collius, Dixon; Melehisideeli ('. 
Ci-ego, Dixon; Joseph Cromwell, Dixon; Charles Cropsey, Dixon; 
Perry Dearth, Nelsou; Calvin DeFrain, Dixon; Alexander Dune, 
Dixon ; William F. Eyer, Palmyra ; Ahjnzo Everts, Dixon : ^^M1- 
liam Faust, Dixon; Frank Ford, Dixon; William J. (larduer, 
Dixon; Hiram Grimes, Dixon; Charles Haupt, Dixon; John W. 
Holtzman, Dixou; Edmund Hoyle, Dixon; David Howard, China: 
Warren A. Howland, Dixon ; Michael Keageu. Pahnyra ; Phili]> 
Kuhn, Dixon ; Thomas L. Knight, Dixon ; John Lindsay, Dix<m ; 
John Linelian. Dixon; Mathias E. Lievan. Dixon; Michael 
McDonald. Dixou; (Jcoi'gc H. ]McLit\ic, Dixon: l)a\id Maloy. 
Dixoii ; dolui L ^loorc, Dixou; r*harlesA. Morrell, Dixou; Nicholas 
.Mossholdcr, Dixou; Cluirles H. Mostotlcr. Dixou; William C. 
Moselcy. Dixon; Ahraham Myers. Dixon; George d. Messer, 
Dixou; r^roctor D. Oakes, Dixou: AVilliam S. Peacock, Dixou; 
Gideon Purhaugh. Dixou; Enoch Pinkerton, Dixon; John R. 
Richards. Dixou; Alexander Rosenhaum. Dixon; Alson H. Rem- 
ington, Dixou; Thomas Roberts, Dixou; Lawrence Rose, Dixou; 
William H. Stewart, Dixon; Cyrus Schnmcker, Dixou; William 
Stackpole. Dixou; William ViT'deuhurgh, Dixon; Cornelius 
Vrooni, Nelson; Joseiihns A. AYatson, Dixou; Christopher 
Wheeler, Palmyra; Thomas Wood. Dixou; Stephen R. Wilshaus. 
Dixon ; James Garrow. 1 )ixou. 

Recruits: Alfred A. Beede. Palmyra; Joseph B. Crawford, 
Dixou; Joseph Gruver, Dixon; Emery R. Morrell, Dixon. 

( 'om])auy D : Williaui D. Smitli. Hannou : Nelson W. Darrow. 
Suldettc. 

Com]iany E: Williaui S. Frost. Ca|itain. Lee Center; .James 
H. Blodgett, Captain. Amboy; Franklin H. Eells.lst Lieut., Sul)- 
lette; James Dextei-, 1st Lieut, Suldette; Henry Hill. 2d Lieut.. 
Lee Center; George A. Houk. 2d Lieut., Sublette. 

Sergeants: James Tj. Barker, Lee Center; Cyrus W. Sawyer, 
Lee Centei'; Haihtw S. Chadwick. Lee Center. 

Corporals: George W. Wheat. Lee Centei-; Oliver A. Wood. 
Sul)lette; Harrison Hale, Lee Center; Charles Stewart. Sublette; 
Aquilla S. Christo]ilier, l>ee (Ynter; AVilliam H. Sawyei'. Lee Cen- 
ter; John Stiltz, Sul)lette; John Snovei'. Lee Center; Aliltou E. 
Barker, Musician, Loe Center. 

Privates: John J. Aiken, Lee Center; William H. Aekland, 
Alelugiu's (irove; William Beaton. Siddette: Ole C. Blovoi-p. Lee 
Center; Ceoige TL Barker. Ashton; Patrick Comfort, Sublette; 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 117 

John J. Cook, Sublette; Samuel R. Cook, Sublette; Alexauder D. 
Crawford, Sublette; Deuuis Carroll, Sublette; Eugene A. Chad- 
wick, Lee Center; Jonathan F. Colwell, Lee Center; August Dig- 
ner, Sublette; William Dexter, Sublette; Thomas Dupay, Sub- 
lette; Jacob Dastart, Sublette; ¥. George Fessenden, Sublette; 
Edward E'essenden, Sublette; Elias Fisher, Sublette; Silas 1). 
Frost, Lee Center; Leonard Gradi, Sublette; Alvarus M. (Jage, 
Lee Center; John Grunett, Lee Center; Jolui C. Gray, Lee Center; 
Charles C. Gonnermau, Lee Center; John Gruber, Lee Center; 
Charles L). Hubbard, Sublette; William Hannon, Sublette; Joseph 
J. Hodges, Sublette; George A. Honk, Sublette; Russell 1). Hop- 
kins, Lee Center; Lyman Jewell, Nachusa; Xorman Jewett, Sub- 
lette; Stewart Johnson, Lee Center; George Kramer, Sublette; 
David B. Long, Sublette; Alexauder Long, Sublette; William B. 
Lucas, Sublette ; William H. Linn, Lee Center ; John W. McLain, 
Sublette; Charles McLain, Sublette; Peter R. Mittan, Melugin's 
Grove ; Samuel McCall, Sublette ; Da^-id D. Myers, Sublette ; Chris- 
topher Maes, Sublette; John Morrill, Jr., Sublette; Nor^■il F. 
Montgomery, Sublette; William McLaughlin, Sublette; Edward 
McKune, Snblette ; Thomas Nagie, Sublette ; John Noel, Sublette ; 
Sylvester S. Nash, Lee Center; John Mass, Lee Center; James 
W. Pankhurst, Lee Center ; William P. Packard, Sublette ; Myron 
J. Peterson, Sublette; Edward J. Post, Sublette; Joshua Rogers, 
Sublette; Lewis B. Rex, Sublette; Henry A. Robinson, Lee Cen- 
ter; Thaddeus Spafford, Lee Center; Edward S. Smith, Sul)lette; 
Martin S. Stauard. Sublette; Austin W. Stanard, Sul)lette ; Wal- 
ter Scott, Sublette; F^rederick Schlcicli, Snl)l('tte; F'ranklin Traeey, 
Sublette; Andrew J. Taylor. Sulilcttc; J<ilni W. Tciuiant, Lee Cen- 
ter ; James Wolcott, Lee Center; ('harlcs Iv Wliitc, Sul)l('tte; Isaac 
Yocum. Sublette; Sanuiel J. Y'east, Sublette. 

Recruits: Carl Bach, Sublette; Ira Dexter, Ma.v; iilbert Hub- 
bard, Sublette; Charles H. Ingalls, Lee Center; Joseph JaiMjuot, 
Lee Center; Henry Johnson, China; Murray Johnsou. Amlioy; 
Oscar R. Morse, Sublette; Henry Nichols, Hamilton; Elijah R. 
Odell, Lee Center; Charles E. Stanard, Sublette; George W. Scott, 
Sublette; Chaunce}' M. Sawyer, Lee Center; Henry Wolf, Sub- 
lette. 

Company F: Addison S. Vorrey, Capt., Amboy; James INIc- 
Cord, Capt., Amboy. 

Fii'st Lieutenants: James Tourtillott, ^lay; James D. Place, 
Ambov. 



118 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Second Lieutenants: Dennis Hannitin, Ainboy; Edwin E. 
Paunce, Amboy. 

Sergeants: William H. Stewart, May; Benjamin E. Warren, 
China ; Shepherd Reynolds, Amboy ; John Dolan, Amboy. 

Coi'porals: William Armstrong, Amboy; James MeCord, 
Ainboy; Elisha T. Tourtillott, Sublette; Charles R. Gregory, 
China; Emanuel Vanorsdale, China; George W. Niver, China; 
1). Brazilla Walker, Sublette ; James Jordan, Dixon. 

Privates: Alonzo E. Allen, China; D. Franklin Brown, 
Aniboy ; William Brown, May ; Daniel Barnes, May ; Joseph Carr, 
Amboy; Ira Corby, Amboy ; Willis T^armon, Amboy; J'ames Camj)- 
l^ell, Amboy; Benjamin F. CanudU, Amboy; John Carter, Jr., 
Amboy; Edward Crhnmins, Sublette; Hugh Carlisle, Amboy; 
Henry Dean, Brooklyn ; William Doran, Sul^lette ; Patrick Dailey, 
Dixon; Dennis Einn, May; Charles Griswold, Ashton; John E. 
Harmon, Amboy; Patrick Holland, Ambo,y; William Hayword, 
Amboy ; Asa ]\L Harvey, China ; Paul Honan, Amboy ; William F. 
Hurst, Brooklyn; Adelbert Jacobs, Amboy; John Kelley, Amboy; 
Wesley F. Loucks, Brooklyn ; George R. Loucks, Brooklyn ; 
Charles Lambert, Amboy ; Thomas McEutager, Amboy ; Johanna s 
Motz, Amboy; Cornelius McFadden, Lee Center; Philip McCor- 
mick, Ma}^; Arthur McGinnis, Amboy; John Murphy, Amboy; 
George F. Nelles, Brooklyn ; Aai'on O. Neal, China ; James O'Cair, 
Aniboy; Jeremiah Quinn, Amboy; Hezekiah Reed, Amboy; John 
Ryan, Dixon; Samuel Stewart, Dixon; James H. Stewart, May; 
Daniel Sheehan, May; Lyman Webster, May (?) ; George Wil- 
liams, May (?); Ernest Wernick, Dixon; John Wink, Dixon. 

Recruits: James B. Ayres, Dixon; David S. Bixby, Ainlioy; 
Owen Dowdel, Amboy; Edwin E. France, Ainboy; Thomas Haley, 
Amboy; George W. Hicks, Amboy: James McGormick, Amboy; 
Samuel Share, Amboy; John M. S])encer. Amboy; John Smith, 
Aniboy ; Grin A^'ithey, Amboy. 

Company G: Joseph Williams, Cai>t.. ( 'hiiia ; Rolu'i't L. Irwin, 
Capt., China; Daniel E. Spafford. 2d Lieut., China. 

Sci-gcants: Manlev E. Brown. China; Charles Twamblv, 
China. 

Coi'poials: Coi'uclius Brinkorhoff. China; George W. ILttle, 
China; .Iosc])h Weinbi'cnncr, China; Jonathan Schrock, Ashton; 
Wallci- Cilhcrt, .'\shton; William Schultz, China; James Dvsart. 
China. 

Pi'ivates: Samuel Bender, China; John Berneter, China; 
George (*al>le. China; George Chamberlain, China; Daniel Cham- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 119 

berlain, China; William W. Clark, Aslitoii; Jeremiah Chiistmau, 
China; Clayton Chronister, China; Wallace Eastwood, China; 
Eben E'ish, China; John H. E'easter, China; Peter Carrison, 
China ; William Cirton, China ; John W. N. Gai'iisou, China ; Wil- 
liam J. Harvey, China ; tSamuel H. Hillery, Bradford ; Addison A. 
Heckert, Aslitou; David E. Hunter, China; Cornelius Komans, 
China; John C. Kaiser, China; Rufus Kessler, China; Jubal 
Keene, China; Alexander Long, China; Bryson Leonard, Ashtou; 
Elbert Mason, Dixon; Armstrong McNeal, China; Josejth Mer- 
salie, China; Noah N. Nay, CHuna; Ceorge W. Pense, China; 
Charles Powers, China; Eugene Sullivan, China; James Sturde- 
vant, Bradford; Daniel .Spafford, China; Samuel Stratton (or 
Statton), Ashton ; Irwin Thomas, China ; Andrew Timothy, China ; 
Amos Weaver, China ; John W. Wingert, China ; John H. AVarner, 
Bradford; Oswald Wetzel, Bradford; Ruggles Wood, Ashton; 
William Watson, China; Paul C. Wetzel. China; Isaac Wesler, 
China; L^anau Wel^ster, China. 

Recruits: William E. Brubaker, China; Henry A. Black, 
China; William, Casterline, (Jhina; Charles Fairchilds, Bradford; 
Jacob George, Ashton; Benjamin S. Hunter. Ashton; Adannon 
Keene, Ashton; Joseph A. Miller, Am))oy; Hiram Pense, China; 
Charles W. Reed, Brooklyn; Peter Saner, China; Irwin W. 
Thomas, China ; Charles D. Timothy, China ; Alfred H. Gothers, 
Dixon. 

Company H: Alfred Cautolo, Sergt., Ashton; Samuel M. 
Tracey, Sergt., Ashton; Joseph Boyer, Corporal, Nelson; John V. 
Blaney, Ashton; Edward Bates, Ashton; Gideon Boyer, Dixon; 
Newton Brown, Dixon; Richard Cliappell, Dixon; Elijah Doug- 
las, Ashton ; Wm. R. Fiscel, China ; Dennis ETetclier, Palmyra ; 
Joseph Gruver, Dixon ; Milton C. Hicks, Ashton ; jNIichael O. Kane, 
Palmyra ; John C. Leidy, Ashton ; Ui-iah L. Penny, China ; Rich- 
ard Plum, China ( ? ) ; Jefferson Seavey, Palmyra ; Sanuiel G. 
Sutler, Ashton ; Hugh Sheredon, China ; David G. Seitz. China ; 
Ulrich Talstead, Ashton; John Wood, Ashton. 

Recruits: Chauncey Mulford ( '?) ; David Steele, Ashtou ; 

George Williams, Ashton. 

Company I : Henry Alexander. Nelson ; Frederick F. Sheldon, 
Nelson; Carl Bach, Sublette; Jacob Luft, Lee Center; George A. 
Sickle, Dixon. 

Company K : David M. Rol^erts, Capt., Wyoming ; William H. 
Thompson, 1st Lieut., Alto; Isaac L. Hunt. 1st Lieut.. Wyoming: 
Berkly G. Barrett, 2d Lieut., Wyoming. 



120 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Sergeants: B. Frauk Atliertou, Wyomiug; John S. Ryau, 
Wyoming; Jouathau N. Hyde, Brooklyn; James C. Howlitt, Wil- 
low Creek. 

Corporals: William Nettletou, Wyoming; Jolm A. Hunt, 
Wyoming; James H. Thompson, Wyoming; Walter V. Simons, 
Wj'oming; Joshua C. Wills, Wyoming; fStephen A. Farr, Wyo- 
ming; Edward J. Rice, Wyoming; John A. Shoudy, Willow 
Creek. 

Privates: J. DeWitt Abrams, Willow Creek; William M. 
Athertou, AVyoming; Zora Atherton, Wyoming; Joseph W. Agler, 
AVyoming; John E. Agler, Wyoming; Ira W. Baker, Wyoming; 
George H. Baisley, Willow Creek; William D. Baisley, Willow 
Creek; John L. Baisley, Willow Creek; George A. Britton, Wyo- 
ming; Eben Backus, Wyoming; Lawson Bell, Wyoming; George 
Beemer, Wyoming; Charles Blakeslee, Wyoming; Charles Car- 
mer, Wyoming; William A. Conant, AVyomiug; William H. Chris- 
tie, Wyoming; Francis M. Cass, Alto; Menzo Coffey, Wyoming; 
William G. Been, Wyoming; Frederick Dormay, AVyoming; 
George Dormay, W^yoming; Jolm M. Dilts, Viola; Andrew E. 
Fuller, Willow Creek; Lewis M. Fairehilds, Viola; Jacob D. 
Fuller, Wyoming; Hiram E. Fuller, Wyoming: Orin Finley, 
Wyoming; Jacob Grus. Wyoming; Charles H. (Jolding, Wyoming; 
James Llall, Willow Creek; Edward Halleubeek, AVyoming; 
Nathan Halloek, Wyoming; Hiram Llenrie, Wyoming; Moses AY. 
Harmon, AYillow Creek; George Hallcnl)e(-k. A\'y(»nung; Oi'land B. 
Jones, AYyoming; Joseph R. Keen, AN'yoining; Benjamin S. Kipp, 
AYyoming; Benjamin Kidney, AYyoming; AYilliam J. Miller, Wd- 
low Creek; James .Miher, Willow Creek: Sidnt'v Merryman, Wil- 
low Creek; AVilliam Miller, Willow Creek; .I(ise])h Miller, AYillnw 
Creek; Frederick C. Alason, AYillow Creek; AYilliam Mclntyre, 
Wyoming: Merritt Miller, AYillow Creek; Henry Merwin, AYyo- 
nnng; Chauncy Miller, AYyoming; Francis Mills, Willow Creek; 
Sampson R. McErn, Viola; Silas Pringle, AVyoming; Edward 
Prentice. AYyoniing; .1. Boindexter, AA^youiiiig; Daniel Reams, 
AA^'onnng; Sidney 1>. Radley, AA^-oming; Benj. F. Radley, AYyo- 
nung; David M. Rolterts, AA^yoming; Jacol) Schmnck. AA^'oming; 
Chnrles Sutton, AVyoming; Thomas P. Steele. AA^'oming; Lucius 
i:. Scliuylci-. AVill.iw Ci-eek; Orin D. Sisco, Willow Cirek; Theo- 
doi'e S]ieiieei', AVvoiniug; J.-inies E. Taylor. Alola ; Oscar M. Town. 
Willow Ci'eek; Jacol) Turk. AA^voming; John E. Pnger, A'iola ; 
Fletcher AViekerw AYvominu': John E. AVoodman. AA'^vonnn"'. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 121 

Recruits: John A. Barrett, Wyoming; Samuel T. Forsman. 
Willow Creek; F'raulvlin Harkins, Dixoii; George W. Hall, Brook- 
lyn; Pliillip Hackett, Wyoming; Chris C. Hodges, Wyoming; 
Chas. H. Kelley, Wyoming; Harvey A. Morris, Wyoming; Edgar 
A. Madison, Wyoming; Avery Merryman, Wyoming; Edward A. 
Steele, Wyoming; Sejonour Warren, Wyoming. 

Unassigned Recrnits: Setli Baird, Sublette; John B. Cnui- 
mings, Ashton ; John A. Elllsworth, Willow Creek ; Julius Lepley, 
Nelson; Wallace E. Rinker, Ashton; Andrew Ryan ( "?) — ; George 
W. Wall, Wyoming. 

EIGHTIETH REGIMENT 

Company I: Martin V. B. Hutchings, Amboy; Elijah Jones 
(transferred to 38th), Amboy; Joshua M. Rice (transferred to 
38th), Amboy. 

EIGHTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT 

Company B : Benjamin S. Hough, Corporal, Amboy. 

Company G : James H. F^oote, Dixon : John Hoclistattor. 
Amboy. 

In Compan}^ H, of this Regiment, six are registered from Paw 
Paw, but I am sure they are not from the Tjee county Paw Paw 

EIGHTY-NINTH REGIMENT 

Company A: Edward P. Walker. Captain (promoted from 
Corporal), Amboy; Alfred D. Frencli, Amboy; Franklin H. Mil- 
ieu, Amboy; James M. Scott, Amboy. 

Company C: John Chambers (transferred to 59th), Dixon; 
Theodore Gaston, Lee county; William H. Branian (transferred 
to 59th), Palmyra. 

Company IT: Nicholas M. Hess. AVillow Creek; John B. Cinn- 
mings, Ashton. 

Company I (almost exclusively from Lee county) : ( "aptains, 
Sanuiel C. Comstock, Amboy; William H. Phelps. Amlwy. 

First Lieutenants: Charles M. Carnahan, Brooklyn: Jesse 
Hale, 2d Lieut., Sublette. 

Sergeants: Warren O. Hawley, Amboy; William W. ('arna- 
lian, Brooklyn; .Tosiah B. McElyar. Brooklyn; John ^IcKcnnett, 
Brooklyn. 

Vol. T—B 



122 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Corporals: Oscar A. Comstock, Ainboy; James S. Quiuce, 
Brooklyn; James (J. Lems, Ainbuy; Joku Gaffney, Brooklyn; 
William A. Murdock, Amboy; Daniel D. Carnahan, Brooklyn; 
Seymour I. Dewey, Amboy; William R. Hodge, Amboy. 

Musicians: Abrani W. Parker, Viola; Thurston Smith, 
Brooklyn. Rufus \'anPool, wagoner, Ainboy. 

Privates : Jabez Abell, Viola ; Edward W. Bull, Amboy ; Johu 
Bonehight, Amboy; John Burnham, Amboy; John Bradley, 
Amboy; Andrew ISigley, Sublette; John W. Barrett, Brookl}^; 
George Buttertield, Brooklyn ; Thomas C. Bradley, Viola ; George 
H. Cook, Amboy; Andrew Cunnniugs, Amboy; Newton Cobb, 
Viola; George O. Cobb, Viola ; Benjamin F. Carr. Brooklyn; John 
Cole, Amboy; David Carnahan, Brookljru; James Despaiu, 
Amboy ; Adam Dunljar, Amboy ; Samuel Ellison, Amboy ; Charles 
H. F'rost, Amboy; Joseph Guthrie, Brooklyn; James Graham, 
Brooklyn; Jacob Haub, Lee Center; Amos S. Horton, Sublette; 
Benjamin Holdren, Brooklyn; Hiram Hopkins, Brooklyn; Wil- 
liam Holdren, Brooklyn; Robert Hall, Amboy; Densla Holton, 
Brooklyn ; Abner Johnson, Viola ; Andrew J. Johnson, Brooklyn ; 
John H. Johnson, Amboy; Setli Knowles, Amboy; Ira .S. Lee, 
Amboy; Joseph J. Lloyd, Brooklyn ; Henry I. Lowe, Viola; Ed D. 
Meach, Amboy; Zaehariah Melugin (killed at Kenesaw Moun- 
tain), Brooklyn; John R. Maunor, Brooklyn; Herman H. Morey, 
Ainboy; Martin H. May, Brookl.vn; DeWitt C. Marsh, Viola; 
Henry C. Mahannah, Amboy; Thomas Noland, Amboy; Charles 
Nelson, Amboy; William Oliver, Brooklyn; William R. Purrhi- 
ter, Amboy; Sam]>s()n Pemmel, Amboy; James Perry, Amboy; 
George L. Pittinger, Amboy; David E. Powell, Sublette; Samuel 
P. Parker, Brooklyn; Thomas Riehey, Brooklyn; Alonzo G. 
Rouse, Brooklyn; Henry Shcctcr. Amboy; Robert Smith, Viola; 
William W. Snyder, Amboy; F^rancis M. Shoemaker, Aml)oy; 
Philii)s Shultz, Viola; George Shultz, Viola; Samuel Q. Smith, 
Brooklyn; John Thompkins, Amboy; David Turvey, Amlioy; 
William H. Thomi)son, Brooklyn; Louis Voght, Amboy; Henry 
Vroman, Viola; Daniel D. VanCampen, Brookl^ai; Charles Van- 
Campen, Viola ; Daniel R. Vroman, Brooklyn ; Charles E. Waite, 
Sublette; Wellington E. Leavens (recruit), Amboy; Francis E. 
Melugin (recruit), Amboy; Jasper Pettigrew (recruit), Amboy. 

Company K: J(dui H. Gray, Ashton; John B. Cummiugs, 
Ash ton. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 123 

NINETY-SECOND REGIMENT 

Comijam' C: Juliu Ciocldard, JJixoii. 

Company D: Robert Cronklitou (recruit), Dixon. 

Company H: Simeon Reynolds (recruit), Reynolds. 

Company I: Emanuel Gorgas (recruit), Dixon; William W. 
Weinbrenner (recruit), Dixon. 

Unassigned Recruits: Cyrus W. Drown, Dixon; Franklin 
Clute, Dixon. 

ONE HUNDRED-FOURTH REGIMENT 

Company C: William T. Bullis (recruit transferred to Sitli), 
Dixon. 

ONE HUNDRED-FIFTH REGIMENT 

Company D: Samuel Berry (recruit), Wyoming. 
Company E : Thomas J. Pierce, Wyoming. 

ONE HUNDRED-TWELFTH REGI:MENT 

Company K : Cornelius 0. P^iko, Franklin CroYe ; John Wahl, 
Franklin Grove. 

ONE HUNDRED-EIGHTEKNTH REGIMENT 

Company C: Francis ^L Wallace (recruit), Lee coimty. 

ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVENTH REGIINIENT 

Company B: Amasa B. Baker (Marked: "Deserted, Nov. 
6, 1862"), Alto ; Joseph Barnard, Willow Creek ; Ezra A. Herrick. 
Alto ; Rodney L. Herrick, Alto ; Abner W. Loomis, Alto (Marked : 
"Deserted, Nov. 7, 18(32"), Alto; Amos Noe, Willow Creek; Wil- 
liam Noe, Willow Creek ; Wilber Fish Plumb (Marked : "Deserted, 
Sept. 6, 1862"), Ashton; Hugh Patterson (Marked: "Deserted, 
Feb. 10, 1863"), Alto: Ira B. Whitney, Alto; John C. Wliitney, 
Alto; Charles Bennett (recruit, transferred to 55tli), Willow 
Creek; Byard Smith (transferred to 55th), Willow Creek: ^Nlich- 
ael Cody, Lee county. 



124 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

It will })e uoticed with shame that many Tee county soldiers 
of this company are marked on the Adjutant (.ieneral's reports as 
deserters. 

Company E: Joseph (iraff. Franklin (ir(.\e; William A. Joy, 
Franklin Grove. 

Company F: William Whorer, Alto. 

ONE HUNDKKI) TWEXIV-KKiHI'H KKdlXfENT 

Company T: Ceorg-e H. Page, Dixon: ^larcellus Sliepherd, 
Suhlette. 

X 
OXK HIXDHKIi 'rHHir^-SKCOXn KKGIMKXT 

C()m])any A: Andrew F. Burdi, Wyoming. 

OXK HUNnRED THIK'l'Y-FOrKTH REGIJMKXT 

Company 1): Virgil B. Andruss, Amboy; Charles P. Allen. 
Amboy; Albert E. Ferre, Lee Center; Sanuiel F. Smith, Lee Cen- 
ter ; Joseph S. Stephens, Franklin. 

Company F : John 1). I'addock, Sublette: John D. Starks, Lee 
Center. 

('om])any 1: Samuel E. A])])leton, Andioy; Lucius Warren, 
Amboy. 

OXK HUXDItKli KOK'I'lHTH HEGIMEXT 

ColoiU'l : Lorenzo FL AVhitnev. Dixon. 

(Quartermaster: (ieorgeW. l)ishop, Dixon. 

Sui-geon: (ieorge W. Fhilli]is. Dixon. 

Sergt. Major: Edward B. Warner. Dixon. 

(Minimis. Sei'gt. : Charles A. ITar])ei'. Dixon. 

Comjiauy D: Archibald Shaw, 1st Lieut., Palmyra; Wain- 
right H. Parks, 2(1 Lieut., Palmyra: CharU'S ^funn, Sergt., Dixon; 
Ziiia (1. Ward, Cor])., Dixon; Alfred A. Beede, Palmyra: Tjcvi 
Castleman, Dixon; (leorge Crafton, Palmyra; Ko1»ert J. Dryman, 
Palmyra; 'i'liomas Eckles, Palmyra; Erastus IT Fisk, Palmyra; 
Henry R. Cratiot, i'almyia; William 1). F. Holly, Palmyra: WiF 
Ham Ilackett, Palmyra: Homei- IF Holt, Dixon; Theo. Hamblin, 
Sublette; AVilliam R. Hatfield. Di.xon ; Sidney T. Alorgan, Pal- 
myra; John .Miller, Palmyra: Herman F. Moellei'. Palmyi';i: 
P^vderick Malo. Dixon; Ste]»hen F. Oliver, Palmyra: Coodwin 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 125 

Patrick, Dixon ; David S. Page, Palmyra ; Bruce Parks, Palmyra ; 
John Purtlemau, China ; Nickham Reynolds, Palmyra ; Augustus 
Rasmus, Dixon; Gideon W. Seavy, Palmyra; Edward Sax, Pal- 
myra ; Andrew Spickerman, Dixon ; Jaeolj Schi'uck, Palmyra ; 
Sanuiel Shaw, Palmyra ; Julian W. Stillwell, Pahnyra ; Fletcher 
Seavey, Palmyra; Lewis G. Sartorius, Palmyra; William Shrock, 
Palmyra ; Francis Tilton, Palmyra ; Isaac A^indervoort, Pahnyra ; 
Ivimes AVadsworth, Dixon; William ¥. Ward, Lee Center; Kd- 
ward C. Wetherbee, Palmyra; John Williams, Palmyra. 

Company E: Ezekiel Giles, Capt., Dixon; Joseph Ball, 1st 
Lieut., L^ixon; John L. Skinner, 2(1 Lieut., Ainboy; George H. 
Northway, Amboy. 

Sergeants: William J. McWay, Dixon; Ricliaid O. Adams, 
Amboy; Edward Perkins, Dixon; George C. Ball, Dixon. 

Corporals: Charles P. Giles, Dixon; Samuel Lyke. Nelson; 
Oscar H. Xoble, Sublette; Julius J. Allen, Sublette; William 
Ijamb. Amboy; Lawrence McDonald, Nachusa; Ichabod Viele, 
May; Joseph Netty, Dixon. 

Musician : Henry McCari'oll, Dixon. 

Thomas J. Watson, wagoner, Dixon. 

Daniel Adams, Amboy; Moses W. Barlow, Hamilton; Josiah 
Bates, Dixon ; Charles J. Becker, Dixon ; Marion Berden, Amboy ; 
Burton Beadley, Amboy ; John J. Brink, Dixon ; Charles C. Buri'. 
Dixon ; Henry Burg, Sublette ; Charles Chivertou, Dixon ; James 
N. Clisbee, China; William H. Coltrin, Brooklyn; Frank Cole. 
Brooklyn; Levi P. Coy, Amboy; Frank M. Curtis, Lee Center: 
Cliarles Derby, Dixon; Robert A. Douglas, Dixon; Martin Doyle, 
Dix'on; James Duffy, Dixon; John Edmonds, Ambo,y; Charles O. 
Fellows, Dixon; Warren J. Fesseuden, Sublette; William Flatt. 
Ambo.v; James Glogan (or Glogaw), Dixon; Robert P. Golding, 
Wyoming; Thomas Gazerty, Dixon; Charles E. Hansen, Dixon; 
Joseph Hannon, Amboy; Samuel Hannon, Amboy; Gabriel Hal- 
lock, Amboy; Moses W. Harmon, Wyoming; Horace F. Hill. 
Dixon ; Edgar M. Holdrin, Brooklyn ; Alfred A. Hubbard, Sub- 
lette; John Hollahan, Dixon; Pliny B. King, Amboy; Anderson 
Kintner, Dixon; Charles Lamb, Brooklyn; Dclos D. Leach, China; 
Mathias Leach, China; Thomas Lowe, Dixon; Cyrus O. Lyman. 
Bradford; William M. Long, Palestine Grove; Patrick iMcCun- 
nell, Alay; John AlcGrath, Dixon; Laurence Murphy, Sublette; 
Theo. Neis, Sublette ; Hiram Pense, China ; Joseph Pero, China : 
John Porter, Dixon; Albert W. Preston, Sublette; William X. 
Riley, Sublette; SanuK^l AI. Rislcy. Xacluisa ; Joshua Scheclilcr, 



126 HISTORY OF LEE COL'NTY 

Ambuj'; Jacob Shay, Uixou; Johu P. SlieAv,' Dixon; Edward B. 
Sliurtlewortli, i^nboy; Nathan T. »Suiitli, Dixon ; Samuel G. Smith, 
Dixon; John S. Stearns, Ainbo\-; Comfuit Stow, Broold\-n; Spen- 
cer Tompkins, Wyoming; Adelbert L. Town, Wyoming; Frank 
Wright, Brooklyn; Thomas Wooley, Dixon; William W. Wood- 
bridge, Lee Center. 

Company G: Johu C. Barker, iimboy, 2d Lieut.; Calvin P. 
Lynn, Lee Center. 

Company H: Charles (Jriswold, Corp., Ashton; George Bai- 
ley, Ashton; Joseph Cartwright, Ashton; Jeremiah F'ljmu, Ash- 
ton ; Mehin Hardesty, Ashton ; Jefferson Paddock, Ashton ; 
Lyman Wood, Ashton. 

Comi^any I: Johu W. Bennett, Dixon; James Brightmau, 
Dixon. 

ONE HUNDRED FORTY-SIXTH REGIMENT 

Company G: Heury Dampman, Dixon; Charles E. Ives, 
Amboy; George F. R. Keeliug, Aiuboy. 

ONE HUX'DRED FORTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT 

Delos Wilbur, Sei'gt. Major, Dixou. 

Company C: Morris Baker, Willow Creek; Dyson Tice, 
Amboy. 

Company G : Jerome B. Anderson, Dixon ; Leander Hanson, 
Dixon ; William H. H. Hart, Dixon ; Jonathan Whipkey, Dixon ; 
Charles Weston, Dixon. 

ONE HUNDRED FORTY-NINTH REGIMENT 

Albert A. Van Gieson, 1st Lieut., Dixon. 

ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-SKCOND REGIMENT 

Company P: Peter Kershaw, Corpoi'al, Dixon; Harrison 
Rigg, Dixou; Joliu Moodv. Dixuii: AVilliaui Sliaw. Dixou; William 
P. Valletto. Dixou. 

ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-THIRD REGIMENT 

Company D: Samuel J. Tompkins, Captain, Alto: William 
H. Nickey. Corpornl, Alto; Morris Wurts. Corporal. Alto; Wil- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 127 

liam H. tSEirk, Musiciau, Alto ; George W. Rice, AVagouer, Alto ; 
Dauiel M. AtEertoii, Alto; John W. Atliertou, Alto; Nathau L. 
Browu, Cliiua ; James J. Clave, Alto ; J esse A. Chase, Alto ; George 
W. Lord, Alto; Joseph Markley, Alto; Jouas L. Mahaffey, Brad- 
ford. 

Coiiipaiiy E : George >Shafei', Sublette ; Abel Williamsou, Sub- 
lette. 

Company K: Fred C. Ferriiig, Sublette; Thomas F. Traeey, 
Sublette. 

ONE HUXDRKD FIFTY-SIXTH REGIMENT 

Comi^any I: Alpheus H. Beemer, Bradford; John Brittaiu, 
Bradford; James Beunett, Viola; Everett Beemer, Bradford; 
James T. Clemaus, Bradford; Benjamin F. Johnson, Reynolds; 
Levi Karchner, Bradford; E'rank Murphy, Amboy; Sidney AVil- 
liams, Reynolds. 

Company K: Richard Ferguson, Corporal. Amboy; Henry 
C Bardmas, Amboy; Silas Barton, Uixon; Allen Bond, Aml)oy; 
John E. Browne, Amboy; John D. Crilly, Amboy; Reuben A. 
Hurst, Amboy; Arden R. Ra}'. Amboy; George W. Richards, 
Amboy; John A. Sanford, Amboy; John Sullivan, Amboy; Isaac 
Thompson, Amboy. 

SECOND CAVALRY 

Silas Noble, Colonel, Dixon. 

Jerome W. Hollenbeck, Quartermaster, Dixon. 

Company A: Shepherd G. Patrick, 2d Lieut., Dixon; B. F. 
Berry, Corporal, Dixon; George Doud; John Gritz, Franklin; 
Charles O. Hodgsdon, Dixon ; George Huffman, Fi'anklin ; Clarion 
R. Sheldon, Dixon ; John G. Hetzung, Dixon ; Henry S. Hicks, Pal- 
myra ; Hartman Kessler, Brooklyn; Lazarus Lally, Marion; Aug- 
ustus Stockman, Brooklyn ; William IT. Ulrieh, Dixon. 

THIHD CAVALRY 

Jacob Winkfield, 1st Sergt., China; Elenry Hartwig, Sergt., 
China: John D. Baker, Corporal, China; Michael Eckert, China; 
Fritz Krahl, China; Thomas Murray, China; John Stevens, 
Dixon. 

Company H: William L. McDowell, Q. M. Sergt.. China: 
Frank C. Brown, China: Zachary T. Chronister. China; Isaac A. 
Ho])kins. China ; John B. Stewart, China ; Owen Summers, China. 



128 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

1 have some doubts about the Chiua meutioued iu tliis regi- 
meutal record. 

Couipauy K: Frederick Miller, Chiua; Hermami Haussler, 
Hamiltou; Jacob B. Schmuck, ^Villuw Creek; Abraham tSeites, 
Dixon. 

Uuassigued Recruits: David Breuuer, Ashtuu; James Cris- 
bee, Chiua ; Andrew Duudle, Hamiltou ( '?) ; Francis Hemy, Pal- 
myra ( i) ; John Hind, Hamiltou ( T). 

FOURTH CAVALRY 

Company C: Erastus J. Mead, Wyoming; John 8. Robinson, 
Wyoming ( ?). 

Comi^any E : Thomas C. James, Corpoi'al, Reynolds ; James 
Beache, Ashton; James M. Doty, Ashton : Allen Hicks, Ashtun; 
David C. Schultz, Ashton. 

Company P : Conrad Walters, Dixon. 

Comi^any H: Benjamin A. Jones, Wyoming; James AY. Mor- 
ris, Wyoming; Irwin Roberts, Wyoming. 

Company I: Heury Jones. Wyoming; Sylvester 1). Mil- 
ler, Paw Paw (f); John Q. Adams, Wyoming; Sylvauus 
Brewer, Paw Paw (f) ; Charles E. Case, Paw Paw (?) ; Clriffiu 
H. Dole, Paw Paw ( ?) ; Hazard (\ Eaton, Paw Paw ( '?) ; Herlx-rt 
H. Hyde, Paw Paw ('?); Jonathan Hami)tou, Wyoming; Jesse 
W. Morehouse, Paw Paw ( '?) ; P]mmet Moore, Wyoming; Henry 
Martin, Paw Paw ( '?) ; Emery H. Alarljlc, AYvoming; Henry B. 
Wales, Paw Paw (?). 

FOURTH CAVALRY CXJNSOLIDATEn 

Company B: John TI. Mills, Paw Paw ( ?) ; John MeClui-e, 
Paw Paw (1). 

Company C: AVilliaui 11. Alli'U, Willow Creek: John Edgar, 
AVillow Creek; Egbei't Ruland, Paw Paw (?). 

Company E: Daniel AY. Browu. Paw Paw (?) ; Barney Tis- 
dale, Paw Paw ( l) : AA^illiain AVilsoii. T*aw T'nw ( ?). 

FIFTH CAVALRY 

Company C: Francis M. Canaday, Dixon. 

Com])auy E : Clinrles H. Suu"th, Dixon. 

Coui])any C : AA^illiniu Slater, Dixon; Abraham Stock, Dixou. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 129 

SIXTH CAVALRY 

Company H : William A. Luty, JJLxou. 

SEVKNTH CAVALRY 

Ec'iij. E. Bartlett. Coinnii.'^. Sergeant, Sublette; Dewitt 0. 
Rexford, Farrier Sergeant, Sublette. 

Compan}' A: Emanuel Brierton, Dixon; Benjamin Baiming, 
Reynolds ; Henry Hader, Amboy ; George W. Holly, Palmyra. 

Company B: Albert Allen (recruit), Ashtou; William X. 
Barton (recruit), Brooklyn ( f ) ; Samuel DuErane (recruit): 
Sublette; Albert S. Gmni (recruit), Dixon; H. Sidney Hill 
(recruit), Sublette; Edward J. Keeney (recruit), Dixon; William 

B. Pratt (recruit), Sublette; Alexander Perry (recruit), May; 
David C. Robb (recruit), Hamilton; George W. Wallace (recruit), 
Dixon. 

Company C: Elmore AY. Hunt, 2d Lieut., Franklin Grove; 
Cyrus T. Ames, Lee Center ; Edgar A. Bird, Sublette ; Fred Bod- 
denhogan, Sublette; Wm. H. Christopher, Sublette; Jackson h. 
Clink, Bradford; Thomas Clark, Sul)lette; Chetal Clark, Sub- 
lette; Andrew J. Clark, Dixon; Washingion Eddy, Sublette; Levi 
Eddy, Sublette ; Augustus Helmestine, Sublette ; Elmore W. Hunt, 
Sublette; a Sergeant who died at Nashville whose name at this 
point is omitted but whose residence was at Amboy, must ha^-e 
been James Henderson; William Hablitz, Bradford; Wm. Lay- 
cock, Sublette; Andrew Maxwell, Sublette; George C. McKeen, 
Sublette ; Walter H. Norton, Bradford ; William G. Orris, Amboy ; 
David S. Porter, Bradford; Andrew J. Philli})s. Sublette; James 
M. Pierce, Sublette ; Ellery C. Thornton, Sublette. 

Recruits: Richard E. Ash, AmlK)y; Benj. F. Bartlett, Amboy 
( ?) ; Mathew Bryan, China ; George Blocker, Amboy ; Fessenden 

C. Butteriield, Mux ; Isaac Blank, May : Daniel W. Craig, Amboy ; 
Thomas B. Campl^ell, Amboy; Moses Crombie, Amboy; Henry C. 
Church, Marion; Richard B. Christopher, Lee Center; Geoi'ge 
Dunn, China ; George L. Davis, China ; James P. Dewey, Lee Cen- 
ter; William Dmm, Amlioy; Anthony Ersfield, Amboy; Lewis E. 
Grover. Sublette; Walter L. Green, Sublette; AYilliam H. Gra>-. 
Amboy ; James E. Gray, Lee Center ; Duran F. Hulbert, Bradford : 
Levi Hergns, Amboy ; John Hammerlv. Amboy : AYilliam AA^ John- 
son. Hamilton: Calvin AL Johnson. Hamilton: A^ictor AL Jones. 
Lee Center ; Charles B. Leavins, Brooklyn ; George Long, Alay : 



130 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Lyman L. Lewis, Lee Center; George Myers, Sublette; Charles 
Neiman, Bradford; Elavil F. Xorthway, iiinboy ; Jolm Neff, Sand 
Ridge ; iU bert Pearl, Lee Center ; LLarrison Pentield, Lee Center ; 
AYilliam E. Skinner, Ainboy ; Sidney P. Stevenson, May ; Freder- 
ick Sawtell, Am boy; William Thompson, Lee Center; John H. 
Sindlinger, Amboy; AVm. Thompson, Lee Center; Alvin F. Ten- 
nant, Lee Center; Joseph G. AVolverton, Hamilton; Elnathan 
Wohertou, Hamilton ; Jesse Wolverton, Hamilton. 

The Adjutant General's report of this company is shamefully 
reproduced. Some political lout who was too lazy to digest a good 
meal jDrepared it. Nearly all the names in this company have the 
postoffiee or to^^1lship omitted, and I am sure three-fourths of the 
men came from Lee county. 

Company D: Edward Klicloaer, Dixon; Da^ad B. Springer, 
May (?); Isaac Cook (recruit), Brooklyn; Dallas D. Cotton 
(recruit), Amboy; John L. Dolson (recruit), Reynolds; David 
Griffin (recruit), Hamilton; Homer Hawkins (recruit), Hamil- 
ton; James Hawkins (recruit), Hamilton; Allen A. Hopkins 
(recruit), Amboy; William D. Laml) (recruit), Brooklyn; Charles 
Lamb (recruit), Brooklyn; Thomas D. Lake (recruit), Brooklyn; 
Curtis Lester (recruit), Amboy; William McMahon (recruit), 
Amboy; Henry Miller, Brooklyn; Bennett Osborne, Hamilton; 
Josei)h T. Parks (recruit), Re^iiolds; Fred M. Brecunier 
(recruit), Reynolds; Sanuiel Risley (recruit), Brooklyn; Thomas 
Rose (recruit), Amboy; Sanuiel P. Rose (recruit), Amboy; John 
D. Starks (recruit), Bradford; Montreville Tennant (recruit), 
Lee Center; Freegift Vandervort (recruit), Brooklyn. 

Many postofifices or townships are omitted here too, so that T 
am sure several Lee county uanies are omitted. 

Company F: Daniel S. Mitcliell (recruit), Wyoming; Charles 
W. Mitchell (I'ecruit), Brooklyn; Charles McClanahau (recruit), 
Brooklyn (?); Audi'cAv P. Peel (recruit). Palmyra; Daniel L. 
Pratt (recruit), Sublette. Same trouble with addresses. 

Company G: Aliraham C. Corder (recruit), Brooklyn; Fran- 
cis Dornan (rccniit), Dixon; James Hamill (recruit), Dixon; 
Owen Smith (recruit), Dixon. 

CompMuy H: William II. Mills (recruit). Palmyra; John 
Williams (recruit), Dixon; AYilliam 1^. AYillianis (recruit), Dixon 
(?). 

Company T: Alexander Kendall (I'ccruit), Palmyra; Henry 
]\liller 0'<'cniit). Dixon; Benjaiiiin A. Pell (recruit). Palmyra. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY i:!l 

Conipauy K: Alonzo Butterlield (recruit), Paw Paw (?); 
Reecl Avery (recruit), Paw Paw ( ?; ; James Chapmau (recruit). 
Paw Paw ( ?) ; George W. Gortou (recruit;, Paw Paw (?); 
Eclniund Hermons (recruit), Paw Paw ( ?) ; Matliew Moveru 
(recruit), Paw Paw ('?); James Simpsuu (recruit). Paw Paw 
(?) ; Albert Wales (recruit). Paw Paw (?) ; William H. Wilson 
(^recriut), May. 

There is a bare possibility that some of the above Paw Paws 
may be iu DeKalb county. 

Company L: Cyrus O. Lyman (recruit), Bradford; Matthias 
Leech (recruit), China; Reed S. R. Muuger (recruit), May; John 
Purtlemau (recruit), China; Alfred Stewart (recruit), May. 

Company M: AVilliam Potter (recruit), Dixon; Reuben F. 
Palmer (recruit). May; Thomas J. Stout (recruit), Amboy; John 
Werkeiser (recruit), Dixon. 

L^nassigned Recruits: Theodore P. Ackers, May; Matliew 
Brien, Chiua; Joshua Batterton, Hermon ("?); Benj. H. Brad- 
shaw, Brooklyn; James O. Byrnes, Dixon; William Byer, Lee 
county; Thomas Campbell, Amljoy; John Connors, Dixon; Win- 
field S. Clink, Sublette ; Andrew J. Clark, Amlx)y ; Joshua Fuller, 
]3rooklyu; James Fitzpatrick, May; William D. James, Hamil- 
ton (?) ; Cyrus O. L^^nan, Lee county; Thomas Morgan, Amboy; 
William O'Donnell, Lee Center; Willobie Potter, Amboy; Hial 
Pike, Lee Center ; David C. Robljs. Lee county ; Wilfred M. Stur- 
devant, Sublette; Clarence Woodbridge, Bradford; Thomas D. 
Yeake, Brooklyn (?). 

To the uncertain ones I have added (?). There are several 
from Hermon I did not include. The spelling is fearfully liad in 
the record. 

EIGHTH CAVALRY 

John CI. Chambers, Com. Sergt., China. 

Company A: John W. Hutchings (recruit), China; Simon 
Hutchings (recruit), China; Jar\'is Hurd (recruit), Ashton. 

Company D: Lucius H. ^[orrill (recruit), Harmon. 

Company F: Josiah Bowers (reci'uit). China: Thomas Pierce 
(recruit), China. 

Company C: Alvah B. Fitcli. 1st Lieut.. China; John W. 
Breed, Dixon ; William F. Blain. Dixon ; Herman J. Becklenberg, 
China; Lucius R. Fitch, China; Joseph B. Spafford, Dixon: Wil- 
liam Young, Dixon. 



132 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Recruits: Bedford E. A. Bradf order, (Jliina; Jonathan B. 
Fellows, China ; Samuel Hutchings, Bradford. 

Company 1: Edwin Bedford (recruit), Dixon. 

Company K: David Carnahan (recruit), Brooklyn. 

Company L: Jonathan V. Taylor, Dixon; Thomas P. Laws(»n 
(reciuiit), Alto. 

Unassigned Recruits : J anies Forrest, Lee ( f ) ; David O 'Neal, 
China; James Riley, Dixon; Peter Schumacher, Sublette; Jacob 
H. Taylor, Dixon. 

NINTH CAVALRY 

Company H: Ferdinand Bassett (recruit), Hamilton ("?). 

TENTH CAVALRY 

Edward L. Lathrop, Asst. Surgeon, Dixon. 

KLKVF.NTH CAVALRY 

Z. James McMaster. Surgeon, Dixon. 

TWELFTH CAVALRY 

Coni])aiiy A: (Recruits) IJeiijauiiii A. (iould. Alto; .lohu 
Hart, Dixon; Ivlward C. McCliire. Alto. 

Company (!: (Recruits) Leonidas Kelly. Haunltou ( ?): Rus- 
sell Recce, Ilaniiltou ( ? ) : Kd T. Stuai't. Hamilton ( ?). 

Company 1: Amasa B. Ci'andall. Farrier. Dixon: William ('. 
Jones, Dixon ; ('liarles Keech, lirooklyn; D;i\i(l Lester. Palmyra; 
AN'illiam -F .M<ir;iii. I!ruiik|yii; IFn'nccT. I'luml). IJi'adl'ord: Sam- 
uel S. lirrd. Dixuii; Franklin S. Shirk. Hamilton: (ie(U-ge St. 
Clair. Dixon: Leonard Stumpr. Drooklyii: Mark Thomas. Dixon: 
Alliei't A. N'an Cieson. Dixon: ('harles \\. White, i)ixou. 

I lind in the Twelftii ( 'onsolidated ( 'a. \ ali\- a I'' ra lie is S. Sjiii'k. 
of Dixon. It may or may not he aho\-e Franklin S. Shii'k. 1 Hud 
also as a reciuit in this I'c^iment. an l'](l\\ard L. Lathrop. of Dixon, 
who must bo the surgeon in tlie Tenth. 

Com])any H. Consolidated: Henry Riehardsou, 2d Lieut.. Lee 
county: desse H. Doan(\ imassigned recruit, Amlioy : Homer C. 
Stedman, Dixon: Tiymau ^Y. Booth. Dixon: Fld^ard B. "WariKT 
(i-ecrnit), Dixon. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY i;« 

Compau}' M: John AV. Cartriglit, Dixou; Cxeorge Hardin, 
Dixon; Henry Riciiarclson, Dixon; William Saylor, Dixon; Wil- 
liam H. Wade, Dixon ; George M. Williams, Sublette. 

UnassigTied Recruits: Ai'tlmr Bailey, Sublette; James H. 
Barrett, Dixon; Charles E. Burns, Dixon; George Burehel, Am- 
boy; Dwight Burnham, Nelson; John J. Boyce, Dixon; W. J. 
Carpenter, Dixon; Hugh Colter, Brooklyn; Lewis Compton, 
Brooklyn; James Carmen, Brooklyn; Morris T. Dunn, Sublette; 
John W. Holtzman, Dixon; Edward Herrick, Dixon; George A. 
Kerr, Dixon. 

FOURTEENTH CAVALKV 

Company C: Joseph W. Clark, Sergt., Dixon; Alfred E. 
Yoimg, Corp., Dixon; James P. Breed, Dixon; Andrew E. Jones. 
Dixon; Eugene H. Levering, Dixon; William Peeks, Dixon; .John 
H. Richardson, Dixon ; John Sifes, Dixt)n. 

srXTKEXTH CAVALRY 

Company K: Joseph E. Bailier, recruit, Dixon. 

SKVKXTEENTH CAVALHY 

Company K: Charles E. Burns, Dixon; Sanuiel S. Reed. 
Dixon ; Geo. C. St. Clair, Dixon ; Mark Thomas, Dixon. 

Company L: William J. Carpenter transferred to this Com- 
pany, Dixon; Charles Keech, Brooklyn; Leonard Stmnpf, Brook- 
lyn; Hugh Catter, Brooklyn; Lewis Compton, Brooklyn. Three 
or four of these members came here Ijy transfer, which makes a 
repetition of their names. 

Company M: Arthur D. Bailey, 1st Sergi., Sublette; Gecu'ge 
G. Hardin, Wagoner, Dixon; James Carmon, Brooklyn; John W. 
Holtzman, Dixon; George A. Kerr. Dixon; Xattie C. Roe, Ashton ; 
William J. Moran, Brooklyn. 

FIRST ARTILLERY 

John T. Cheney, Major, Dixon. 

Battery C: Guy W. Blanchard, Dixon; George S. Benton. 
Sublette; Jidius A. Perkins, Sublette; Henry J. Shoeuiakei'. 
Dixon: Jeremiah Swover, Xelson. 



134 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Battery D: Ileury C. Powers, 2cl Lieut., Dixon; Lewis W. 
Jones, Corp., Wyoming; Theodore !S. Jones, Wyoming; Eli Mead, 
Wyoming; Llorace Mclnt}^re, Wyoming; Ainos A. Neal, Wyo- 
ming; Henry R. Walton, Wyoming (f). 

Reeriiits: Noah Beal, Dixon; Auianzel D. Burr, Dixon; 
George C. Ball, Dixon; Seth C. Bretton, Wyoming; Benjamin W. 
Clapp, Dixon; AVilliam Steele, Dixon; Samuel Sepley, Dixon; 
George W. Tracy, Dixon; Joshua AVood, Dixon. 

Battery F: This battery, "Cheney's," was discontinued and 
the veterans and recruits were assigned Feb. 22, 1865, to other 
batteries. 

Josiah H. Burt(tn, Capt., Dixon; Jefferson F. AVhaley, 1st 
Lieut., Brooklyn; Theodore ^V. Raub, 2d Lieut., Dixon; Robert 
Riche^y, 2d Lieut, Brooklyn; John Q. Y'ates, 2d Lieut., Dixon. 

Sergeants : Edward O 'Brien, Dixon ; James M. Vesj^er, Dixon. 

Privates : Frederick W. Bennett, Dixon ; Obadiah Berringer, 
Brooklyn; Lloyd Bei'i'inger, Brooklyn; Reuben Booth, Brt)ok- 
lyn ; Henry C. Chappell, Brooklyn ; G. W. Christiance, Brooklyn ; 
Benjamin Carey, Dixon ; George Carey, Dixon ; Cornelius Chi'is- 
tiance, Brooklyn; Valentine Doctor, Brooklyn; Frederick E. Ful- 
ler, Brookl}m ; Ole Gunderson, Dixon ; Charles Hough, Brooklyn ; 
Henry Horn, Dixon; John Haynes, Dixon; Jacob Hoffman, Pal- 
myra; Frederick Lloldren, Brooklyn; Charles Y. (or G.) Ken- 
nedy, Dixon; Michael Kearns, Dixon; Michael Karshner, Brook- 
lyn ; Walter Little, Viola ; Leauder Ij. Leach, Dixon ; Jeremiah Len- 
nihan, Dixon; John LI. Lyle. Dixon; James Lahey, Dixon; John 
Mann, Brooklyn; Frank McElroy, Brooklyn; John Nightlinger. 
Sublette; S. E. Parker, Brooklyn; Amos Rohrer, Dixon; John 
Reardon, Palmyra; AA'illiam Richardson, Dixon; Thomas Shelly, 
Brooklyn; PciTy Stetler, China; Rush Schick, Palmyra; N. 
H. Thomi)son. Dixon; James E. Taylor. Dixon; dames Thomp- 
son, Palmyi-a; Ear] A. WInte. Dixon; Addison Wagner, Dixon; 
Johnson Whalcy, Brooklyn; Albert Youngs, Bi-ooklyn. Re- 
cruits: Henry W. Ayres, Dixon; Ei-ank Aii'd, Brooklyn; 
Calvin Burkett. Dixon; James Ball. Dix(m ; Daniel Bressie, 
Dixon; Henry E. Brierton, Dixon; Benjamin Burr, Dixon; Syl- 
vanus Beadway, Dixon; William J\[. Black. Palmyra; John D. 
Boardman, Dixon; Franklin H. Babbitt, Dixon; Lionel C. Buri', 
Dixon: Clmi'les W. Curtis, Dixon; Daniel Cobl). A^iola ; William 
H. (^hi-istiance, Brooklyn; Franklin CouAvay. Palmyra : Homer H. 
Clink, Pahnyi-a; John AY. Deck, Palmyra; Laurest(tn Tv. Deyo. 
Dixon ; Eliphalet B. Edsom, Dixon ; Alfred Evre. Palmvra ; Wil- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 135 

liam Elweit, Dixou; Hervey Eergu^^oii, Dixou; George W. Far- 
rell, Dixou; Samuel C. F'airehilds, Biooklyu; George W. (iood- 
wiu, Dixou; Alouzo D. Gage, Dixou; Heuiy Graft', Dixou; Justiu 
ELoUister, Dixou; Johu Hugiies, Dixou; Hiram Hetler, Dixuu; 
Theodore Johusou, Palmyra; Germau Ivuipper, Aslitou; Edwiu 
M. Keiser, Dixou; Audrew J. Loveless, Dixou; Thomas C Little, 
Dixou ; Charles Lowe, Dixou ; George R. Lovelaud, Dixou ; Joseph 
M. Loveless, Dixon; Jeremiah Hosteller, Dixou; Clark W. Moou, 
Dixou; Henry L. Peacock, Dixon; Shepard G. Patrick, Dixou; 
Franklin O. Pierce, Brooklyn; William C. Snyder, Dixon; Jolui 
J. Snail, Dixon; Adam Sclieer, Dixou; Henry W. Short, Palmyra; 
Emery M. Sautee, Dixou ; William H. Scullen, Lee Center ; Amos 
Sweet, Brooklyn; Edward Shelters, Dixou; William A. Stewart, 
Dixon. 

FIRST BATTALION 

John Tomhow, Palmyra; Alexander Turner, Dixou; Van J. 
Thomas, Palmyra; William T. Wood, Dixon; Thomas Wade, 
Dixou. 

It has been difficult to get these names, whole pages of the re- 
port have no addresses. For instance, George R. Lovelaud 's ad- 
dress was blank. I am fearful, thei'efore, that some names have 
been omitted. 

Battery G: William Hamilton, Amboy. 

Battery I: Michael Welch, Dixon. 

Unassig-ned Recruits: Frederick E. Fuller, Willow Creek; 
Johu Jordan, Dixon; Simon P. Kuhu, Palmyra ('? ) ; Franklin 
Peterson, Dixou; Noah Thomas, Palmyra (?). 

SECOND ARTILLERY 

Batteiy F: Peter C. Brooks, Nelson (?). 

Battery G: Charles Slate, Wyoming. 

Recruits : Edgar M. Coudit, Hamilton ; George C. Cade, Ham- 
ilton; Milton B. Duuton, WilloAv Creek; Horace Keg-^v^in, Hamil- 
ton; Henry P. Laudus, Reynolds; Jabez Laudus, WilloAV Creek; 
Oscar F. Mcintosh, Reyuolds; Warren Pike, Hamilton; Hugh 
Scott, Viola; Frederick M. Tilden, Hamilton; Chabris Taylor, 
Alto ; William Tate, Hamilton ; Lucius C. Vroman, Willow Creek ; 
Allen B. Warn, Ambov; Alouzo Webster, Viola. 



136 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Battery K: William X. Heurie, Dixou. This man served 
three years in Company H, Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry. He 
came from Kane county. Here lie enlisted as a veteran. In reality, 
he was not a Dixon man. 

Battery L : Patrick Kerivau, Dixon. 

Cogswell's Battery: John Allen, Wyoming; Horace Allen, 
Wyoming. 

Henshaw's Battery: Michael L. Keryn, Dixon; Lawi'ence J. 
Millard, Marion; Barney McCoy, Amboy; Thomas O'Connor, 
Dixon; Henry O'Neal, Amboy. 

COLORED TROOPS 

Company F : John Walmslee, Sergeant, Dixon. 

SIXTY-EIGHTH UNITED STATES COLORED INFANTRY 

Isaac Waugh, Dixon. 

FIRST FNITKI) SJ'ATEH ARMY CURl'S 

Company Two: Frederick A. Snider, Dixon. 

Company Three: Horace S. Tambling, Reynolds. 

Comi:)any Four: Jacol) Hoffman, Palmyra (?); Solomon 
Shafer, Nelson. 

Company Five: Philip Puterhniigh. \'iola ( ?) ; Abrani Swart- 
wout, Sublette. 

Company Six : ( ieorge ( 'hristiauce, Brooklyn ; Parker L. Cass, 
SuV)lette; (ieorge Feidles, Brooklyn; ^lichael Keraus, Sublette; 
Andrew lind, Sublette. 

Coni])any Seven: Henry Henzer, \Villow Creek. 

Com])any Nine: (Ieorge A. Seymour, Palmyra (?). 

Company Ten : Edward A. Barnard. Lee Center; Henry Clay, 
Lee Center; Frank C. Lee, Lee Center; Henry J. Lee, Lee Center. 

Company Eleven: James H. Mannen, Aslitou. 

Company Twelve: Bobcit Keiuiey. Willow (^-eek. 

liKCHUITS FOR i;K(i( r,AH AHMY — FOURTH UNITED STATES INFAXTRV 

James J. Ashlev, Amhov. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 137 

SEVENTEENTH UNITED STATES INFANTRY 

David Abbott, Amboy; Charles A. Anderson or Andrews, 
Dixon; Reuben Blank, Ainboy; Abraham Blank, Amboy; Fred- 
erick Bailey, Ainboy; Maxiinon Bourdon, Aniboy; Peter Black- 
burn, Ainboy; Robert Brown, Dixon; Douglas Cameron, Amboy; 
John Cunningham, Amboy ; Patrick Carey, Amboy ; James K. P. 
Craig, Amboy ; Joseph Fulks, Amboy ; Stephen Fairman, Amboy ; 
Henry H. i'ritz, Amboy; Lorenzo B. Gardner, Amboy; Joseph 
Graham, Amboy; Stephen Z. Hartley, Amboy; Abram Hill, Am- 
boy; M. W. Hollister (rejected, ill health), Amboy; Charles Hill, 
Amboy; Lorenzo B. Kiser, Amboy; Dudley P. Loomis, Amboy; 
William Latity, Amboy; Charles A. Lambert, Amboy; Robert 
Li\ingston, Amboy ; Stephen Lee, Amboy ; Samuel Leonard, Am- 
boy ; Charles McCristal, Amboy ; Patrick McGinnis, Amboy ; John 
Murphy, Amboy; James H. Osgood, Amboy; Stephen Osegh, Am- 
boy; James Potter, Amboy; Patrick Ross, Amboy; Andrew 
Schoonmaker, Amboy ; David Springer, Amboy ; Franl^lin Savior, 
Amboy; Davies Springer, Amboy; John Sullivan, Dixon; Patrick 
Tiernay, Amboy; Edward Thompson, Dixon; Patrick P. Ward, 
Amboy; George H. Wilson, Amboy; William A. Whitehead, Am- 
boy; Frank Wright, Amboy; John C. Wagner, Dixon. 



CHAPTER VIII 
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS IN LEE COUNTY 

It was the policy of the Board of Public Works of Illinois, to 
build the proposed great north and south railroad in sections, 
here and there, in order to keep the various settlements in a tran- 
quil state of mind. Dixon's Ferry was given more than its due 
proportion, and instead of building from both sides of a stream as 
was the policy of the commissioners, in Lee, they built altogether 
from the south bank of Rock river, southward, and clear through 
the county to its southern boundary. That circumstance indicates 
to us of today the commanding i^osition of Dixon's Ferry in 
Illinois affairs, although it contained but a house or two or three 
at the time. And it indicates also the commanding influence of 
John Dixon as a factor in the business and political affairs of 
Illinois. 

When in 1837-8 and -9, these works were going forward, the 
engineers of the state occupied a building on First street as their 
headquarters. It has been mentioned once, but repetition here 
will not be uninteresting. 

In 1835, James Wilson built a blacksmith shop of logs on First 
street, on the spot occupied liy the present Dixon Telegraph build- 
ing and its neighboring building to the west. The building did 
not reach the corner. I would say the west wall of the Telegraph 
building would measure approximately the center of the old log 
building. In 1837 this building received a floor, and it was used 
to hold therein the only term of court held in what comprehended 
the territory of the old Ogle of Lee and Ogle counties. 

This building, on the south side of the street, was perhaps 
twenty feet long, east and west, and when the gi^ade was cut down 
to its present level, rather than pare down the entire lot even with 

139 



140 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

the street, as at present, a stone basement or ground floor story 
was built under the buikliug to reach the street level, so that there- 
after the building became a two-story building. The upper one of 
logs was sided and in its altered form, it gave out the appearance 
of a very elaborate structure. 

The appointment of John Dixon as a member for the Sixth 
Judicial District of the Board of Public Works, gave to Dixon's 
i^erry a still more commanding position. 

Large quantities of stone, much of it dressed for proposed 
outside use in building piers and abutments in bridges over 
streams, including Rock river, were hauled into Lee county and 
deposited along the route of the proposed railroad and in Dixon 
a very large amount of material was left. 

In reports for subsequent years, made by the commission, it is 
interesting to notice the orders made for the public sale at Dixon, 
of those materials. The grade made through Lee county began at 
the south bank of Rock river where Hennepin avenue intersects 
the same and ran southerly, crossing the south line of Lee not far 
east of the Dad Joe house. To this day it may be traced overland 
for every foot of its ancient course and so too may it be traced 
easily from the old first map of Lee county made in 1863 by Joseph 
Crawford and Jason C. Ayres. 

Originality it was planned to have a wagon road rim alongside 
its alignment on the northeasterly side, but with the abandonment 
of the project, the grade was appropriated instead and was 
retained for many years. Between Dixon and the Northwestern 
right of way, it is used today as at first. Beginning at the junction 
of Hennepin avenue with the river the grade was designed to run 
south on the avenue to the library corner where it curved towards 
the east, passing through the jail block and the intervening blocks 
between that and Seventh street and Chicago road, just east of the 
Keycs residence. Here as a matter of fact, the actual grading 
began for its southward joTU-ney. Beyond the right of way of the 
Nortliwestern, it paralleled the present Chicago road until the 
Clarence Smith place is reached at the top of the hill, where it 
continued southerly between the Smith hoixse and the White 
Tem]'.]e schoolhouse. A shoi't distance further on it followed the 
Peru road. On the farm north of the county farm, the channel by 
the roadside is well defined still, and the right of way passed 
through the dooryard of the county farm, running not far west 
of Sh(^lburne and the Joseph G. Hall farm; further south, it ran 
through Maytown by the diagonal road that passes the spot 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 141 

occupied by the old Academy before its destruction. It is today a 
clean-cut trace, with the few exceptions where intervening ridges 
appear. No doubt these appear because when the various gangs 
working towards each other got orders to quit, their work had 
not met the work of the approaching gang. It may be interesting 
to know that Sterling made desperate elforts to secure the location 
of the Central road at that place. The counter petition which was 
presented by John Dixon is now owned by Edward H. Brewster 
and reads as follows: 

To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the State of Illinois, 

Your petitioners — Citizens residing on Rock River and vicin- 
ity understanding that a petition has been or is about to be pre- 
sented to your Honorable body representing that the Central 
Rail Road or that part of the same from Rocky ford to Savannah 
crossing Rock River at Dixon is located on unfavourable ground, 
occasioning a longer and more expensive route &c &c. — to which 
we would respectfully protest — 

And would add, that whatever may be the feelings of a few 
interested individuals at Sterling, we are of the opinion that that 
part of the Central Rail Road alluded to, has been judiciously 
located — answering both the interest of the finances of the State 
and that of a very large majority of the Citizens of the Rock 
River Country- 
Authentic information on this Subject is in reach of your 
Honorable body, to which we would respectfully refer you. In 
the reports of the Engineers, duly appointed to examine and 
Survey Said Road, information will be found properly attested. 
And your petitioners have too much confidence in the good sense 
and judgment of our Legislature than to suppose the representa- 
tions of a few individuals should have much weight against all 
the evidence in your possession to the Contrary — 

Praying that your honors will Consider said petition for what 
it is worth — Your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray 
T. D. Boardman C. Brookner 

Smith Gilbraith John Neumeyer 

Jos. Crawford Nelson Douglass 

Charles Edson R. B. Loveland 

D. C. Stevens Wm. Seaward 

John Van Arnam J. Campbell 

Nelson Barnes John G. Bellanger 

Thomas McCabe J. H. Page 



142 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 



Noble P. Bassett 
S. M. Bowman 
Oliver Everett 
Nathan Whitney- 
Asa W. Stowell 
Ab'm Cool 
G. B. Dills 
A. M. Braley 
Jos. Hartman 
C. F. Ingals 
J. S. Boardnian 
C. A. Lane 
P. M. Alexander 
John C. Oliver 
Simon Fellows 
Ahuh Monlton 
Samuel M. Fellows 
James Power 
John Morgan 
Jacob Mai'tin 
S. T. Martin 
Wm. W. Tilton 
O. A. Hubbard 
W. P. Burrough 
Alanson Smith 
T. H. Burroughs 
Orin Skeel 
C. W. McNaughton 
E. Morgan 
Coo. W. Chase 
J. M. Hamilton 
E. S. Wing 
Wm. A. Eraser 
E. W. Hutcher 
Thomas Doxter 
]\rif'linol Horner 
Znohnrinh Phillips 
J. T). MpComsey 
Harvey Wordle 
L'^aae Criffeth 
WilliauT Kennedy 
William Lane 



Stephen Fuller 
I. P. Mallock 
Alfred Cogswell 
Jas. McKenney 
R. McKenney 
David Brown 
Ebenezer H. Johnson 
John A. Burton 
William Marsh 
William Mackay 
D. B. McKenney 
Homer Preston 
John McKenney 
Frederick B. Dutcher 

0. H. Chessman 
Henr}^ Turrel 
Horace Benjamin 
John Wilson 
Jas. P. Dixon 

F. A. Martin 
Wm. G. Frasier 
Carlton Meliners 
F. W. Coe 
W. S. Coe 
Stern Mason 
William Miers 
Harvey Morgan 
Isaac Morgan 
Wm. W. Beach 

1. T. Martin 
David Hill 
Wm. Martin 
A. L. Porter 
M. Fellows 

I. M. Johnson 
Ti'iton Swera 
John Dexter 
John Montieth 
Edward Crosbv 
J. T. Little 
C. D. Howard 
Daniel Reichwaz 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 143 

Sam'i Nobling John G. Peabody 

Austin L. Bull Nathaniel Browning 

Gardner Robinson E. W. Hine 

Carter McCumsey William Thompson 

J. Tharp Lawrence, Jr. John McAllister 

F. C. Whitney James Benjamin 

Isaac Robinson C. Brookner 

Hiram Vanpatten John W. Dixon 

Peter McKenney Jas. De Pui 

J. B. Chatham John Crosby 

Joshua Cameron Elisha Crosby 

J. B. Nash Noah Beede 

Dan'l Carpenter Al. Fender 

Wm. Dolan , W. W. Bethea 

Josef Lorimer Solomon Fender 

Wm. McKenney Wm. Miller 

Daniel McKenney John Belanger 

N. G. H. Morrill Horace Thompson 
L. S. Huff 

Dixon prevailed. Beyond doubt, Mr. Dixon's appointment in 
18.38 as member of the Board of Public AVorks had nuich to do 
with the defeat of Sterling's aspirations. 

The Tenth General Assembly, of which Abraham Lincoln and 
Stephen A. Douglas were members, reduced to a point resembling 
system the vast numbers of inane theories which the people 
demanded, and Stephen A. Douglas was the member whose resolu- 
tions permitted it to be done. The Illinois and Michigan canal 
project by this time had proceeded a considerable distance. This 
scheme, however, should not become confused with the internal 
imi^rovement schemes. The canal scheme may be said to date 
back when Representative Pojoe laid off the boimdaries for the 
new state, and in January (22), 1829, when the act was passed 
providing for the appointment of commissioners to fix upon the 
route. 

The year 3837 was the year of the Douglas resolutions and the 
beginning of active preparations for work. The bill which was 
passed at last, over the objections of the council of revision and 
the Govei'nor's objections, appi'opriated the enormous siun of 
$10,200,000. Of this sum, $100,000 was appropriated for the 
improvement of Rock river, and for the railroad (through Dixon's 
Ferry) from Cairo to Galena $3,500,000 was appropriated. This 
latter was the most important of the list and received the largest 



144 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

appropriation, and in tlie distribution of the $5,668,000 which was 
realized from the sale of bonds, the sum of $1,142,027 was placed 
in the hands of the commissioners of public works to spend ; about 
one half the sum appropriated by the bill. 

Thus for a short while over two years, the insane mania pro- 
ceeded. In 1839, the peojile awakened to the fact that they were 
in debt over $17,000,000 and had nothing to show for it but a few 
grades and cuts and the great internal schemes collapsed. Lee 
county was favored more than any other northern county in the 
wa}^ of railroad grades and the Central Railroad languished until 
Senators Stephen A. Douglas and Sidney Breese, in the United 
States Senate, later secured the land grant which permitted the 
Illinois Central Railroad to be built through Lee county, not very 
far away from the old grade of fifteen or sixteen years before. 

The scrip used in pajonent for labor and material depreciated 
to a ruinously small figure. I have secured a piece of it to repro- 
duce here as an illustration. 



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CHAPTER IX 

THE FRENCH IN LEE COUNTY 
By Oliver L. Gehant 

The French in Lee county are to be found in nearly all the 
walks of life and scattered throughout the entire twenty-two 
townships. To the writer, however, it appears that the heaviest 
settlement is in Viola and Brooklyn townships, at West Brooklyn, 
and in the vicinity bordering that town. At least one-half of 
Brooklyn enterprise is due to the French descendants, and 
especially in the west half of the township they, with the Germans, 
constitute the majority of the population. We also find the 
French in Lee Center on the west and in Wyoming on the east. 
Quite a settlement is located in May township, a goodly munber in 
Ashton, as well as scattering numbers in Dixon, South Dixon, 
Amboy, Harmon, East Grove, Bradford and Alto townships. 

Our subject being a little too broad on account of (nu- meagre 
knowledge of the French inhabitants throughout the entii'e comity 
and not having the opportunity to learn more of those living out 
of the range of our acquaintance, we shall attempt only to center 
our history upon the French in our own township and its adjoin- 
ing communities. We must therefore ask the indulgence of our 
readers in overlooking any errors we might make or any omissions 
which might occur. I^et us assure you that they shall not be inten- 
tional, but owing to lack of information. 

The early arrivals from France landed at Lee Center township 
about the year 1853. Benjamin Leepy, a shoemaker, located at 
Lee Center and followed his profession for a number of years. 
The others were farmers in the persons of Claude Gehant and 
Ferdinando Py who took up their homes in Bradford township. 
Two years later, in 1855, a party of sixteen left their native land 
for America and all settled in the vicinity of Bradford. The party 

145 



146 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

included Johu Bazel Hemy and wife with their two sons, Con- 
stant and Leoi^old. Constant liad been married in France and 
was accompanied by his wife. Others in the party were Mr. 
and Mrs. John Bresson and tlieir children, Delphine, Polite and 
Delphan; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Antoine and their three months 
old baby boy; Constant Barlow; Blaze Fraescheau and Modest 
Gehant. They lauded at New York and started westward inrme- 
diatel.y, stoppiug at F^'rankliu drove upon reaching Lee county. 
From here they made their selection of homes in Bradford town- 
shijD and for a few years the entire sixteen were located in the 
same parish. On January 13, 185S, twt) of the party were married, 
Delphine Bi'esson and Leopold Heui'y. This was one of the 
earliest French maniages taking place in the county and was 
solemnized at Aniboy. The young couple made their home in 
Bradford towuiship for a time and then removed to Shelley county 
where they remained for ten years. After their return to this 
county they located in Viola township on the faiin which became 
know^n as the old homestead. About ten years ago they retired 
from the farm and located in West Brooklyn. To this union ten 
childi'en wei'e born, six of whom are still living and I'esiding in the 
county. They are Lydia (Montavon), Amel. Eugene, Delphan 
(deceased), Edward, Josephine, Francis (deceased), Mary 
(Gehant), Francis Faley (deceased), and Charles (deceased). 

Constant Henry had been a soldier in France before coming 
to this country and had sei'ved seven years in Africa defending the 
French flag. He also saw service in Algeria and Egypt. There 
were ninety-six in the party when the soldiers left the mother 
county foi- Africa, and only six of them returned home. The 
climate of the desert and the guns of the natives were terrible for 
any l)ut a native to withstand. His stories of soldier life in 
Africa can yet be remembered b_v our older inhabitants. His 
family were all boi'n in Lee county. They are Delia (Lawrence), 
Victoiine (Jeanljlauc'l. Jennie (Larkin), and j\Lnry (Terhune). 
Delia and Victcuine. after their marriages, moved to Iowa and are 
located at Eagle Grove and Fort Dodge. The other two children 
are still residing in the eastern part of the county. 

Tn the year 1857 Mr. and Mrs. Laurent Gehant, Sr., and two 
danghters, Judith (now Mrs. Joseph E. Henry of Dixon) and 
Leona (first wife of Jose]di Chaon and now deceased), arrived at 
Lee Center and licrc th(^ husband and father found emplo;^anent in 
the Clap]) stone (piarries for a couple of years. With his family, 
wliich now consisted of Judith, T;eona. and Frank J., and accom- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 147 

panied by Constant and Leopold Henry and their families, he 
moved to Shelby coimt}^ where they I'esided for ten years. All 
removed to Lee county in the sj^ring of 1SG8, where Mr. Gehant 
continued to reside until his death at the ripe age of seventy-eight 
years. His other children, part of them born in Shelby county, 
were Laurent, Jr., Henry F., Andrew, Sarah (Jeanblane), and 
Melenda (Edwards). 

In 1857 F^'i'ances Bai'low and her daughter,^ Caroline, and the 
Antoines — Claiice, Mary, Euphamia, Moses, Edward, and their 
father — settled here. The I'l'eneh migrations to Lee county 
seemed to cease about this time and we hear of no more until abont 
1867. 

During this time many of these people were intermarrying. 
Delphan Bresson married Clarice Autoine while his brother, 
Polite, took for his wife Caroline Barlow. Delphan settled in 
Viola where he continued to reside until his death, a number of 
years ago. He is surA'ived by his widow and two sons, Henry and 
Alfred, both of Minnesota, and one daughter Mary, wife of August 
Gehant. 

Polite Bresson, like his brother, was a successful farmer of 
Viola township up to the time of his death. His family surviving 
him are his aged widow and eight children, namely : Faley, Amel, 
Frank, Edward, Charles, Lydia (Berscheid), Amelia (Monta- 
von), and Mary (Jid_y)- Another son. Modest, died a few years 
ago. All are highly respected citizens of this county and num- 
bered among Viola's leading inhabitants. Ainel Bresson is a 
graduate of Valparaiso Univei'sity, at Valparaiso, Ind. 

Modest Gehant went to Ohio for his wife, marrying Olympia 
Chaon. They settled north of West Brooklyn and there reared a 
large family. They are : Xavier, August. Joseph, Modest, Frank, 
Adolph, Izedore, Lonis, Josephine (Henry, deceased), Leona 
(Henry), Margarette (Henry), Mary (Oester), and Susan 
(Auchstetter) . It was due to this mai'riage that the Chaons, 
Xavier and his wife, Josephine, soon afterwaixl came westward 
and settled near their daughter. Besides Mrs. Modest Gehant, 
they had four sons, August (deceased), Amadia, Joseph, and 
Charles (deceased). Amadia Chaon did not live here long after 
attaining his majority and, as we shall see later, is located in the 
western part of our country. Joseph, alone, together with his 
family are residents of the county at this time. 

Claude Gehant, who came in 1853, was married three times, 
his first wife being a French girl from LaSalle comity. To this 



148 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

union was born one son, namely Henry P., of Chicago. His second 
wife was Mary Antoine, and the third Mrs. Mary Py, widow of 
Sylvan Py, who will be remembered as the son of Ferdinando 
Py. Sylvan Py met his death at the age of thirty-three years 
through wounds sustained in a riuiaway accident. As the husband 
of Mary Antoine, Claude Gehaut had three children, Frank D., 
Euphamia (Jeanguenat, deceased), and Arthur. By his union 
with Mrs. Mary Py, he had six children, as follows: Clementine 
(McCrea), Edward, Louise (Faltz), Victoria (Bittner), Marga- 
rette (Bieschke), and Josephine (deceased). The Py children at 
the time of the marriage of their mother to Mr. Gehant, were 
Joseph (deceased), Eugene, Eliza (Gehaut), Mary (Faltz), and 
Adella (Frank). 

Euphamia Antoine, who was married to Morris July, was the 
mother of two sous, Albiu and Leon. Mack July, twin brother of 
Morris, and their brother Joseph followed Morris to this county. 
Mack was married twice, his first wife being Fclica Biescha, while 
his sec<)nd was Mar}' Tilliou. They raised a large family. 
These marriages account for the family name found throughout 
the county today. The Julys migrated here from Ohio after 
the Civil war and have since continued to reside here. Morris 
July distinguished himself very ably as a private in the war, and 
can tell many tales of the hardships and occurrences of that ter- 
rible time. 

Benjamin Leepy, after discontinuing his shoe shop at Lee 
Center, took up the farm life on a nearby farm and prospered for 
a number of years. Mr. and Mrs. Leepy were the parents of eight 
children, four girls and four boys — Ludina, Melenda, Addie, 
Arteua, Theodore, Jerome. Edward and Luciau. After her 
husband's death Mrs. I^eepy mariied August Barlow, himself a 
widower. His first wife had been Adell Py, the only daughter of 
Ferdinando Py, and to whom had been born ten named children. 
Sylvan, Edward, Victor, Amel, Leon, Adolph, Lydia, Clementine 
(deceased), Adeline and Nettie. 

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Antoine raised six children, including 
Julius, who crossed the Atlantic with his parents when but three 
months old. Mrs. Antoine died leaving this family in charge of 
their father, who afterwards married a second time. To this 
union six children were born — Edward, George, Henry, Frank, 
Isaac and Addie. 

Gradually one by one the French gathered at Lee Center, and 
in addition to those already named we find in one community Mr. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 149 

and Mrs. Charles Jeanblanc, Mr. and Mrs. Maximau Aubert, Mr. 
and l\Irs. Josej)!! Bresclion, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brescliou, Mr. and 
Mrs. Alexander Biesclia, Mr. and Mrs. Moses Autoiue, Louis 
Champlan, Nicholas Schoeffle, Jerry Tondreaii, Justin and 
Edward Tebeau, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Petit, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph 
Simon and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lawrence. Charles Jeanblanc 's 
family consisted of three sons — Alexander, Constant and Abell. 
The Aubert family included three children, Leon, Benjamin and 
Josephine. Joseph Breschon had two sons, Charles and Joseph. 
Alexander Biescha was the father of two boys and two girls, 
namely, Frank, Alexander, Mai'y and Felica. Moses Antoine was 
married twice, his children by his first wife being Albert, Addie 
and Lucian. By his second wife they were James and Lizzie. 
Louis Champlan married Julia Henry, Nicholas Schoeffle married 
her sister Margarette, while Jerry Tondreau married a third 
sister, Leona. Justin Tebeau took for his wife Mary Montavon, a 
French woman from Switzerland. His brother Edward married 
Lydia Barlow. The last eight families moved to Iowa, where their 
descendents are still to be found. 

Francis Henry landed at New Orleans in 1867 and settled at 
Joliet, 111., where his wife died soon after the establishment of 
the new home. Her death left the husband with ten children, some 
of whom were of very tender age. The family consisted of four 
boys and six girls, as follows: Joseph, Victor, Amel, Edward, 
Cathryn (Barlow), Margurette (Schoeffel), Leona (Tondreau), 
Julia (Chamijlan), Mary (Mertens), Josephine (Coty). 

Joseph, the eldest son, saw service in the rebel army during 
the Civil war, while his brother Victor fought in the Union ranks, 
the two brothers taking part in several important engagements 
between the Blue and the Grey. Both were wounded in battle and 
each accused the other of firing the shot that marked the two for 
life. Joseph was not a rebel from choice, but being engaged in 
business south of the Mason and Dixie line at the outbreak of the 
Civil war, was given his choice between service in the Confederate 
army or confinement in the Andersonville prison. He chose the for- 
mer and was made captain of his company, he being the only man 
in the company able to read orders, and served in the rebel ranks till 
wounded, when he returned to Lee county. After the war he served 
as an Indian scout for Uncle Sam in company with Buffalo 
Bill on the western plains. Victor, after his honorable discharge 
from the Union army, returned to Lee county and was joined by 
his brother Joseph, who in partnership engaged in farming for 



150 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

some years in Bradford township. Tlieir baclielor liome was a 
favorite place during tlie long winter nights, where the neighl)ors 
would assemble to listen to the brothers camptire tales of war times 
or "on the trail of the Indians" of the western j^lains. Edward, 
another brother, after reacliing his majority, settled in eastern 
Nebraska. Joseph E. Heni-y, better known as Squire Henry, 
settled in Bradford township where he owns a 360-aere farm. He 
was honored by his fellow towiismen with the important office of 
justice of the peace for more than twenty years. After retiiing 
from the farm he took up his residence at West Brooklyn, and 
about two years ago moved to Dixon. The Squire married Judith 
Gehant, and to this union five childi'en were born, Leoua (Jean- 
guenat), Edna, Laura (Wiser), Laurent and Amel (deceased). 
The latter was an instructor in St. Martin's College of Lacy, 
Washington, at the time of his death. Joseph E. Henry of Dixon 
and his sister Catherine Bernardin of Amboy, together with their 
children, are the only members of the Francis Henry family still 
residing in Lee county. Constant Barlow, who had been here since 
1855, became the husband of Cathryn Henry, and to this union five 
children were born, Theodore, Alfred, Constant, Cathryn and 
Tena. 

Constant Favre and wife, together with their two sons and two 
daughters, Lewis, Delphan, Gustin and 01}^npia, came here from 
Soutiiern Ohio and settled in May towmship about the year 1868. 
Tlie older Favres have been dead for many years. Louis, the 
oldest son, still I'esides in May township, and is recognized as one 
of the largest land owners in that part of the county. Delphan. 
the younger son, sold out his real estate ])OSsessions in Lee county 
some ten years ago and removed to Soutiiern Minnesota, where it 
is Imported he controls a large acreage of choice land. Gustin 
(Aubert), the older daughter, is still a I'esideut of Ma3% residing 
on the old Aubert homestead near the Lewis Favre estate. 01>an- 
pia (Henry) has been dead for a number of years. Victor Henry, 
husband of Ol^anpia, married a second time, and then I'emoved to 
Kankakee, but their three daughters continued to reside in Lee 
connty. Frank Deville and Remy Arnould came to the vicinity of 
Ashton about 1867. and today we still find their descendents in 
the comity. Mr. Deville's family consisted of four girls and one 
son, the latter dying years ago. The girls names are Victorine, 
Clara, Mary and Euphamia. J\Ir. Arnould was the father of three 
boys, Julius of Viola, Vincent of Dixon and Edward of Ashton. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 151 

Eugene Vincent, who had settled at iSumuiiauk in DeKalb 
county upon his arrival in Illinois from his native land, came to 
our county in 1867. He was the lirst of this famil}' to arrive here. 
lie settled in Viola townsliip and continued to farm until about 
fifteen years ago when he and his wife located in West Brooklyn. 
His family are Joseph, Ernest, Modest, Amel and Mary. His 
wife was Clementine Hiloisy. lier brother Joseph is best known 
in the county, having resided in various parts for many years. 
One of the Diloisy girls married Charles Applegreen, while still 
another became Mrs. Maggie Jerrai'd. The liftli member of the 
family. Batiste Diloisy, was but little known here. 

Joseph Vincent, Sr., came to our county a little later than his 
brother Eugene, but even then, not until after his son Joseph and 
daughter Mary had crossed the Atlantic and located here. There 
were still two others of the Vincent famih^ who journeyed to our 
country and settled here, they being Josephine and Mary, who 
became tlie wives of Prosper Gander and August Chaon. Theii' 
father, whose name also was Joseph, never settled here, but did, 
however, spend a few months visiting with his daughters after their 
marriage. Prosper Gander arrived here from Pennsylvania, 
where he had stopped upon reaching American soil. 

Joseph Bernardin left France about 1851 and settled with the 
French in Ohio. About 1870 he too followed the others to Lee 
county and remained a lesident heie until his death, at Aniboy, a 
few years ago. He was married twice, his children by his hi'st 
wife being Henr}^ Charles, and Marv (Arnold). His second wife 
was the widow of Constant Barlow and to this imion were born 
three children — Julius, Louise (Schroer), and Peter. 

These individuals and families seem to include all the early 
French settlei's in that part of Lee couuty covered by our subject, 
and it is due to these pioneers that we find the French descendents 
so prominently located in this county today. 

There are the Henrys, Gehants, Bressons, Bernardins, and 
Viuceuts in and near West Brooklyn ; the Arnoidds at Ashton ; the 
Favres in Maytown ; the Barlows, Antoiues and De-\illes at Amboy 
— all ))earing the names of their ancestors direct from France. 
Many other French names are to be heard throughout the county 
and in some way or other a goodly number of these are related to 
those first pioneer settlers but have since lost the family name 
through marriage to othei's of the French nationality who have 
come from other states or have come from the old country in later 
vears. 



152 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Perhaps the largest families of the Trench nationality to be 
found in Lee county are the Henrys and the Gehants. As large as 
these families are we have them nearly all in one community and 
prospering with their other Trench brethren. The Henrys are 
divided into three distinct fanrilies, each family conung from 
ancestors who are not related to each other. John Bazel Henry, 
who came in 1855, was not related to Traucis Henry, who came in 
1867. Neither were these two related to August Henry who settled 
in Ohio and continued to live there until his death. His sou Alex- 
ander journeyed to our county within the last ten years and has 
continued to reside here ever since. Mrs. Sylvan Py was also a 
sister of Alexander, but, of course, her descendants do not bear 
the name of Henry. This name perha]3s has a distinction not 
often boasted of by others in this resj^ect, for in Lee county and 
even in the same village are to be found pei-sons bearing the family 
name of "Henry" and three of them, neighbors, are not related in 
any way. 

The early Frenchmen adapted themselves to the ways of the 
new world and aj^plied themselves in such a manner as to become 
real industrious, a trait which is found in our present generation 
and so characteristic in their every-day life. We might say the 
greater portion of the French to be found in Lee county are 
farmers. A goodly nmnber are found located in the villages 
following some mercantile ]iursuit and we ai'e certain to find the 
rest of them continuing in some trade or profession, working out 
their livelihood. Some are politically inclined and have been very 
pronunent in both our great parties during recent years. A son of 
Laurent C! chant, who arrived in America as we have seen in 1857, 
was elected to the General Assembly by the people of the thirty- 
fifth district in 1906 and served his i^eople in such a way as to 
bring great credit to himself and his nationality. This pei'son is 
Henry F. Gehant of West Brooklyn, and is one who is well known 
throughout the county today. Lie is the pioneer banker of the 
country town, opening the bank bearing his name in 1897 at West 
Brooklyn. This institution he has Iniilt u]) from year to year until 
now we find it one of the most important of its kind in that portion 
of the comity. It has a capital of $25,000 and deposits ranging 
from $150.0()0 to $200,000. Besides doing a general banking 
business its insurance department issues ]»olicies covering all the 
leading forms of insurance and deals in real estate and farm loans. 
This institution is perhaps one of the most siiccessful of those 
started through French cai^ital and enterprise, and stands as a 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 153 

moniimeut to the staunch character of those earl}^ Frenchmen as 
well as a momunent to its founder. Mr. Oehant's two sons, Oliver 
L. and Henry W., are cashier and assistant cashier, respectively, 
of the bank. F. D. Gehant, a cousin of the founder, acted as 
cashier for a number of years, but retired from the banking busi- 
ness eai'ly in 1912, and is now engaged in the hardware and imple- 
ment business in West Brooklyn. We have already seen that 
F. D. Gehant is a sou of Claude Gehant, who was numbered among 
the very first of the French to settle in the county. His other 
brothers are located in various pai'ts of the state, one of them, 
Arthur, still residing on the old homestead in Bradford. Besides 
Henry F. Gehant. Laurent Gehant has three sons and two daugh- 
ters residing in or near West Brooklyn, namely, Frank J., 
Laurent, Andrew, Mrs. Sai'ah Jeanblanc, and INIi'S. Melenda 
Edwards. Their daughter Leona, who accompanied her parents 
from France, died some thirty-live years ago, then being the wife 
of Joseph Chaon, another descendeut of the early French arrivals. 
Most of Modest Gehant 's children are still in the vicinity of West 
Brooklyn and are actively engaged in farming or have retired 
from the haixl work and content themselves in supervising their 
farms. August Gehant, one of the sons, has been a prominent 
citizen of Viola townshii^ for many years. Like many of the 
others before him lie married another descendant of those earl\- 
Frenchmen, his wife being a granddaughter of John Bresson who 
arrived here in 1855, and constituted one of the party of sixteen 
coming together that year. Other Gehants to select wives who 
are descended from those early pioneer settlers were Henry F., 
who married a granddaughter of Fei'dinando Py, Frank J., who 
married A'^ictoria Henry, Laurent, who married Mary Henry, 
Frank D., who married a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leopold 
Henry or a granddaughter of John Bazel Henry. 

The descendents of the Henry family are represented in the 
business calendar of Brookhm township by Edward B. Henry, a 
son of Leopold Henry, who conducts a garage and is proprietor of 
a dram shop in West Brooklyn. He has two brothers residing in 
the vicinity who support the family name — Amel and Eugene, and 
a numl)er of sisters, all of whom are married, but who still make 
this county their home. The Bernardins too are sharing the retail 
business burdens of West Brooklyn, for JuHtis and Henry are 
engaged in the implement and hunber business. Julius has Theo- 
dore Barlow as his partner in the implement business. He too is 
a descendent of those earlv Frenchmen. Another of the nation- 



154 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ality prominent in business in West Broolvlyn is Prosper Gander, 
who came from France in later years and after stopping for a 
time in Pennsylvania. As related jn^eviously, Mr. Gander is the 
husband of Josei)liine Vincent, and they have one daughter. • He 
is a mason contractor and very successfully conducts his chosen 
profession. The Vincents are all farmei's with the exception of 
Eugene and Joseph, Sr., who have retired within the past tifteen 
years. We still find the wives of Delphan and Polite Bresson in 
Viola township in the midst of their sons and daiTghters, where 
they have continued to till the soil throughout all these years. 
Like the Vincents we find the Chaons still continuing the farm life 
and only in a few instances have the older members of the families 
retired and are living in town. Joseph Chaon and wife, he having 
been married a second time, reside in West Brooklyn. His brother 
Charles died a number of years ago, but is survived b}' his German 
wife and their children. A brother, Amadia Chaon, moved to 
Nebraska many years ago. while still another l)rothei*, August 
Chaon, died at his home in Viola. His family have since left the 
county and located in the Northwest. 

The F^rench language in this county is gradually, but surely, 
losing its identity. Through fifty years association with neigh- 
bors of every nationality the yomiger generation have lost all 
atfection for the tongue of their ancestors and content themselves 
with the English language alone. Intermarriage has residted in 
depleting the thoroughly French poiDulation by one-half, and it 
is safe to make the prediction that ere fifty years more have passed 
very few of the original French descendents will be recognizable 
in Lee county. 

Perhaps the nationality being most iutei-mingled with the 
French is the German. Many of Irish descent are also marrying 
into the F'l'ench families so that in a few years more we will find 
our people to be not French, ncn- German, nor Irish, but descend- 
ents of a F'rench and German marriage or an Irish and French 
marriage. Many fidui Switzerland tiM) have migrated to our 
county and become identified with the local Frenchmen on account 
of speaking the same language. Cliiof among the Swiss wo find 
the Wisei's. the Bauers, and the Montavons. located here. Many 
would call them French, not knowing their original birthplace, 
and on a<'r'ount of their close semblance to the French are not 
distiuguis]ial)le from them. The ]>ntriotic American spirit seizes 
every Frenchman soon after his arrival in this country, and a 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 155 

Frencliman is au American regardless of his language when once 
he becomes settled on this side of the Atlantic. 

It isn't French histor)^ that Frenchmen strive to create in 
America, although the Frenchman has been an important factor 
in American history making from the very beginning. The 
ancestors of some of the early French settlers in Lee county left 
their natiA'e land with (ieneral Lafayette and shed their life blood 
for American independence and for patriotic love of the stinig- 
gling colonists in their light for freedom from English tyranny. 
One needs but to read the early history of America to ascertain 
the debt of gratitude its citizens owe to the French race. Every 
individual aims to eontriljute his part to that great American 
history which every day, year after year, amazes the world and 
makes this nation the great leader of nations and draws to our 
flag the respect of every ]ieople in every clime. Let us not mourn 
the disappearance of the Fix'uchmen in Lee county, but feel glad 
to realize that they have mingled with those of every natiouality 
to make a new history. Let us revere them for it and close vsdth 
that deep sensitiveness within our breast that we owe to every 
patriotic and progressive American citizen for such they have, 
long years past, become and are today sharing their portion with 
the others of our great American people. 



CHAPTER X 
THE NORWEGIANS IN LEE COUNTY 

The Norwegians have done much to develop the resources of 
Lee county and to bring the price of land to its present generous 
proportions. A strip of country in the east end of the covmty and 
extending over into DeKalb county, is so very largely settled by 
Norwegians that one may say it is owned by Norwegians. This 
strip is about ten miles long by about five miles wide and takes in 
Willow Creek, some of Reynolds and some of Ogle county on the 
north, and part of Milan to the east, in DeKalb county. 

These hardy, industiious and ambitious people are said to settle 
always on nothing biit the very best of land. In Lee county, that 
is true literally. The lands held by them in this county are of the 
very best and with their splendid improvements, command the 
highest prices. 

The Norwegians are good homebuilders and without a single 
excej)tion they are secure in the enjoyment of comfortable fortunes. 

Most of them emigrated from Hardanger, in Norway. They 
learn the language readily, and while they love to cling to the 
mother tong-ue, they speak it only at home or when together. 

Realizing that the younger generation may soon forget the old 
home ways and tongue, three years ago, a Hardanger society was 
formed of all the Hardangers in America. The first meeting was 
held at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The second was held in Iowa 
and this year, the meeting was held at Lee in this county. From 
coast to coast almost, the loyal Hardangers flocked to Lee to visit 
for two days and depart for another year. Over 1,500 Hardangers 
met at Lee and they were housed and fed bountifully after the old 
home customs by the hospitable citizens of Lee and vicinity. This 
meeting was the most interesting of old country meetings I ever 
have attended. Norwegian dishes were served; beautiful Nor- 

157 



158 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

wegian songs were sung; follc-lore stories were repeated and a 
banquet was served at which speeches were made. 

This notable gathering at Lee was held Wednesday and Thurs- 
day, JSeptember 17 and 18, 1913, and long will it be remembered. 

The first Norwegian to come to Lee county, was Ommen Hilli- 
son, Americanized from Amund Helgeson, a Hardanger who left 
Norway in the year 1835. Like so many of his hardy countrymen, 
he was a sailor. Arrived on these shores, he made a few coastwise 
trips aboard ship, in fact until the year 1837. 

In that year he walked from New York to Chicago with the 
avowed purpose of taking up land which he had heard was to be 
thrown open to settlement and sale, very soon. At Chicago, he 
heard of a little Norwegian settlement in LaSalle county on the 
banks of the Fox river, now known as Norway. To this point he 
walked. 

On the way along the road he was overtaken by a team in which 
several men were seated, going out to enter land as they stated. 
When they overtook Mr. Hillison, they invited him to get in and 
ride, which he did at once with the expression of many thanks. 

But it took no time at all to discover that the men in the wagon 
were members of a gang of desperadoes, and that so soon as the 
first auspicious moment should arrive they proposed to rob him. 
He attempted to get out but between protestations, and almost 
force, he was prevented. Biding his time ■|)atiently, the moment 
arrived at last when he found himself enabled to jump out. Throw- 
ing off the mask, the men tried to catch Mm, but he escaped and 
duly reached the Norway settlement. 

In that year, 1837, the Inlet settlement was enjoying a boom 
notwithstanding the panicky times everywhere present in financial 
matters. The land was reputed to be of the very best and but little 
of it had been taken up and "deeded." As a matter of fact when 
he reached "The Inlet," not an acre of the country had been thrown 
into market, but it was expected to come in any day. 

Mr. Hillison walked to Bi'adford township. Almost the first 
piece of land he looked at, pleased him. and comformabl.v with 
custom, he proceeded to hedge it about with evidences of a claim, 
which wei-e respected in those days. 

To get some more money, he worked for the settlers in the 
vicinit_y foi' wages which w(^idd raise a laugh to repeat at this point, 
until by saving every penny, he felt himself able to go ahead to 
make his first crop and abide its harvest. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY . 159 

His first evideuce of establisliiug a claim -was to erect a sod 
house on tlie quarter section wliicli he enjoyed as his home until 
his death in the year 1854. Subsequently he erected a frame house 
near b.y which by reason of its elevation was a sort of landmark for 
the traveler for great distances around. 

This house attracted a family named Reinhart, then passing 
Melugin's Grove further east on the Chicago road and the father 
drove to it and passed the night with Ommen. 

One member of that family, Miss Catherine E. Reinhart, 
attracted the eye of the young bachelor, and subsequently they were 
married. In 1850, Henry W. Hillison, was born of that marriage, 
the first Norwegian child to be born in Lee county. Mr. Hillison 
lives today not far from the original homestead. And that home- 
stead is situated just across the road, north from the home farjn of 
Reinhart Aschenbrenner, another son of Mrs. Hillison, by a subse- 
quent marriage, and Reinhart Aschenbrenner owns the same old 
homestead today, one of the best x^ieces of land in Bradford town- 
ship and in Lee county. 

Onunen's glowing accounts written back home attracted other 
Hardanger friends, especially those from Sofjorden, and they 
began coming to this country, invariably reaching Ommen 's house 
as an objective point. From ones and twos the numbers increased, 
in each instance, the Hillison home receiving and directing the 
strangers into new homes and as the sequel proved, very profitable 
ones. Not one of them left Lee county, and thus in course of time, 
Lee county, and later, the village of Lee became the focal point for 
the Hardanger emigrant and from Lee the younger generation 
went out into Iowa, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Minnesota until their 
number now is legion. Lee is regarded with almost as much vener- 
ation as the mother countr}^ 

Among the party first to come to Lee county, were Lars Larson 
Risetter, the richest man in the county, when in 1907, he died, Lars 
Helgeson (Hillison) Maakestad, HelgeHelgesen, lugeborgHelges- 
datter. a sister of the last named who married Lars Olson Espe, 
Lai's Olson Espe, Sjur Arneson Ely, Torgels Knudson Maakestad, 
Lars Larson Bly and Gertrude Helgestadder Lonning. 

From New York city, this little colony went up the river to 
Albany in the year 1847 ; by rail they went on to Buffalo : by lake 
they continued on to Chicago where Ommen Hillison met them and 
brought them direct to his house in Bradford township, and an ox 
team from Chicago was the mode of transportation. They stopped 
over at Norway. 



160 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Subsequently Bly returued to Chicago. Ingeborg returned for 
awhile to Norway, but subsequently she rejoined the Lee county 
colony. 

From the home of Ommen, these young men scattered, 
some to go to Sublette township ; Lars Larson Risetter was among 
the number, others to Lee Center township and so on, to any place 
not far away, to work and earn money with which to take up land. 
The first ambition was t(j become a landholder and a home builder. 
In making the trip from Norway, Lars Larson Risetter became 
the second Norwegian to enter Lee county and he truly was a 
remarkable man. With his tirst money he bought laud and built a 
log cabin on it. This was in Bradford towmship. Later he sold the 
place to a German who had come to join the thrifty class of 
emigrants who had began to settle in Bradford, and he removed 
over to the Last End country, Alto township, to which point he has 
been followed by almost every Norwegian of Lee county and now 
Lee is the center of the colony. 

With every dollar Risetter got, he bought land, the very best 
land in the world. At his death he was buried at the Norwegian 
Lutheran church a mile and a half southwest of Lee. His estate 
footed up almost three quarters of a million of dollars. 

His two sons live at present in Beloit, Wisconsin, but very soon 
they expect to return to Lee. 

Espe who came over with Ijars Larson Risetter was a carpenter, 
•and soon after his marriage, he built a frame house, the second to 
be built by a Norwegian in Lee county. 

Lars Larson Risetter 's log cabin was the third house to be built 
by a Norwegian. It was a log cabin and was built in a single day. 

The tirst Norwegian to settle in Willow Creek, was Amund 
Hillison Lonning, the second sou of Helge and Ingeleif Anumdson, 
who was born at South Bergen, Stiff, Norway, June 20, 1821. At 
home his first year's wage was five dollars and clothing. He went 
to woi'k in Sublette township where Lars Larson Risetter "s 
brother-in-law was working, and he entered the employ of Thomas 
Pessenden at $11 per mouth. I n 1 S.')2 he bought for $200 the north- 
east quarter of section 15 in Wilk)W Creek townshiji, but still hired 
out for five years after that. In 1855 he began improving his land. 
In 1857 he married Jugeliorg Larson Maland, who in 1855 had 
emigrated to Sublette. On -hnic 25, 18!)(), he died. Mrs. Hillison 
(Lonning) died Dec. 16. 18()(). 

On the same ship with Mr. llillisoii ( jjouning) last mentioned, 
there came to America, two splendid young Norwegians, named 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 161 

Ole Vasvig aud Ommau Hill. These two .young men took laud 
uortli of Prauklin ou what subsequently became known as "Nor- 
wegian Hill," by reason of the tragedy which befell the yonng men. 
They lived together in a log cabin. Under the bed they ke^Dt theii- 
little hoard in a box. 

One night men bi'oke into the house and with their own axe 
killed both the young men in a shocking!}' brutal fashion. Indi- 
cations pointed out that one was killed while asleep, but the other 
awakening and trying to defend himself was struck down dead at 
last. 

Several arrests were made for this shocking murder, along 
about 1854, but nothing ever came of them. The box was lingered 
by the bandits, as their bloody finger prints disclosed, but so far 
as could be ascertained, none of its contents had been taken. 

The recoixls which have been preserved, show the emigration 
from Norway to Lee county to have been as follows : 

In 1851, Haldor Nelson Horlaud, Jacob Olson Rogde, living at 
Lee today, Haakon L. Bisetter, brother of Lars Larson Risetter, 
Agatha Oldsdatter Espe, sister to L. O. Espe. 

In 1854 there arrived Amimd O. Kragsvig, Wiglik P. Pederson 
Akre, Helge Pederson Maakestad, Johannes Pederson, Agatha 
Maakestad, Jacob Pederson Blye, Helge Bl.ye, Elsa Pedersdatter 
Blye, Christopher C. Rvalues (Qualnes). 

In 1856 there came Sjur Qualnes, Jens C. Qualnes, Martha 
Qualnes, Brita Olsdatter Kvaestad, John Johnson JNIaakestad aud 
Christian Sexe. 

In 1857 came Elias O. Espe, Peter O. Espe, Thomas Helgeson 
Lonning aud wife, Synva, Anunid Sexe, Halsdur G. Maakestad, 
Viking (tosendal and Einar Winterton. 

In 1858 came Ingeborg Olsdatter Eide, Einar Einarson Buer 
and wife, Johanna, Lars Salomonson Risetter and wife, Ragnilda, 
Sven Isberg, Einar Vasvig, Margretha Sandven, Ormond O. TjOU- 
ning and wife, Christie, Hans Strand. 

In 1859 came, Ingebrigt Qualnes, Gyrie Qualnes, Sigri Qualnes, 
Christopher Ingebrigtson Qualnes, Gynie Qualnes and wife, nee 
Rogde, and Peder Tjoflaat and family. In 1860 came Nels Peder 
Maakestad. 

In 1864 came Ole J. Prestcgaai'd, now one of the lichest men in 
the county, Lars Pederson Maakestad, Jacob Oplieim, Arne 
Opheim, Lars Aga, Ole Aga, Daniel Wignes and Viking Winterton. 

In 1865 came Peder P. Hill and Kleng Osmondson. 

In 1866 came Conrad Knudson. Peder O. Hill. 



162 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

But when 1 come down later, space forbids further details. 
Those hardy old pioneers, coming from a country teeming with 
roses, have made the east end of Lee county blossom as tne rose 
indeed. Most of them are gone now, but the children, who still 
occupy the old homesteads, keep up the pretty old home customs in 
their home life. 

The Norwegians of Lee coimty are a very temperate, religious 
peoijJe. Both Willow (Jreek and Alto are dry towns notwithstand- 
ing the fact there are two villages in Willow Creek, Lee and Scar- 
boro. Nearly every Norwegian has a beautiful voice and the set- 
tlement is musical morning, noon and night. 

Oft a mile and a half to the southwest, they have built a beautiful 
church. J ust to indicate the musical tendency, in this church, out 
in the country, a .$1,800 pipe organ has been installed. Just now 
too, the choir consists of fifteen voices ; four sopranos, three altos, 
four tenors, four bass voices. 

The cemete]'}^' is close at hand and clustered around the church 
so dearly loved in life, the men and the women who took this 
country as a wilderness and brought it into a wealthy conununity, 
are lying. One noticeable feature of this cemetery is the exquisite 
care taken of it and the respect shown the memory of the dead by 
the erection of so many handsome monuments. 

Over to the northwest, another Norwegian Lutheran church has 
been l:)uilt, and like the other to the southwest, it is crowded with 
worshippers cA'ery Sunday. Eight voices compose the choir in this 
beaiitiful church. 

Another very noticeal^le feature uf this Norwegian settlement 
is making itself felt and that is the mii^'ersal custom of sending all 
the children to school, then to the college or the university. In one 
family, 1 found three sons, all college ])rofessors, one in Harvai'd, 
one at Northwestern, Evanston, and the other at another noted 
ciillenc wliicli for the moment I have forgotten. 

The banlv at Lee is owned largely by the Norwegians around the 
place: they control it. Its cashier. ^Ir. E. A. Bach, told me that 
they held a majority of its stock. It was organized so late as 
Nov. 14, 190:i Now its deposits are aliove $200,000. 

At the present moment. Lee is under village government. Mr. 
S. M. Maakestad is tlie mayor, and a very efficient one too. The 
aldermen are Barney Jacobsen, George Beels, Sr., Marshall 
Edwards, L. A. Plant. Oliver Halsne and Rohert O. Nowe. The 
treasurer is F. A. Bach and the clerk is Kinnie A. Ostewia:, who 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 163 

lias contributed much about the history of the east end of Lee 
couuty for tliis book. 

The merchants largely are Norwegians and they enjoy a won- 
derful i)rosperit3\ 

Lee believes in municipal ownership to a large extent. The 
village owns its own water plant and it has the very best of tire pro- 
tection. Hydrants have been placed all over the city linnts and a 
village hre department, of which Henry Eide is chief, has kept the 
damage done by fires down to a trifle ever since the system was 
installed. 

In the year 1902 the place was visited by a devastating fire ; it 
burned down the best part of the town. But with characteristic 
spirit the merchants replaced those l)urned, with splendid new brick 
buildings, and today Lee owns the best Ijuildings of any of the 
smaller villages in Lee county. 

It has a splendid electric light service, day and night up to mid- 
night. Everv inch of town lot space has a neat cement walk in 
front of it. The streets are kept with exquisite cleanliness. 

One unusual condition exists in Lee — the county line runs light 
through the middle of the main street so that the west and larger 
part of the place is in Lee county and the eastern part is in DeKalb 
county. And for all these commendable conditions, the Norwegians 
of Lee county are to be thanked. 

In this day of the motor car. Lee is nothing behind. There 
are 150 machines tributary to Lee and Lee contains the largest 
garage and machine shops for repairing autos, in the county. Its 
proprietor, Swan Ostewig, draws trade in welding and vulcanizing, 
from a distance of thirty miles. 

I have taken considerable space to mention the village of Lee, 
because it is an unusual place, surrounded by an miusual i^enple. 

There are of course some big farmers, Americans and rjermans, 
notably, J. M. Herrmann, a director of the bank at Lee, l)ut the 
Norwegian very large preponderates in the east end of Lee county. 




'nil-: inxo.x i;ai; i\ im:s 



CHAPTER XI 
THE BENCH AND THE BAR OF OLD LEE COUNTY 

It is with emotions of pleasure I take my typewriter in hand to 
begin the story of the legal fraternity of Lee county. 

Nearly all of my young life was spent, as deputy circuit clerk, 
in close tovich with the lawyers of Lee county. And what a glori- 
ous flood of recollections sweeps over me the moment I try to select 
the first one to mention ! They almost kill themselves in the stam- 
pede to find expression first. 

Lee county always has had a strong bar. Prom Edward South- 
wick, the first lawyer, down to the present moment, the lawyers of 
Lee have been kno\\Ti all over the state as men of great ability. 

The lawyers of Lee have been a fearless lot of men too. How 
well do I remember the day the late Bernard H. Trusdell made a 
speech to a jury which was one of the most remarkable on record. 

A certain community which he represented had been over-rid- 
den by a lawless lot of hoodlums. They had terrorized the com- 
munity imtil quiet, law abiding citizens became desperate and they 
called upon Bernard H. Trusdell to bring the cul]n'its to justice. 
Mr. Trusdell secured the indictment of certain members of the gang 
who had been especially vicious and Mr. Trusdell followed the 
case into association with the states attorney to give the prosecu- 
tion the benefit of his legal mind as well as the benefits of his per- 
sonal feelings in the case. 

When he came to conclude the arguments for the prosecution, 
did he appeal to those jurors to do their duty"? Did he approach 
those twelve men in meekness, begging them to bestow a favor on 
the community? Did his words indicate that small favors might 
be accepted from that jury b}' way of compromise in case of a 
possible disagreement? Never! In conclusion, he raised a 
clenched fist; his eyes were aflame with indignation at the law- 

165 



166 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

lessness of the defendants and he told that jury something like 
this: "The menibeis of this conmnmity were presented with two 
ways to treat this case. ()ne was a prosecution in court; the other 
was to administer the law themselves. They have chosen the for- 
mer and now we exjiect .you to do yoiir duty as jurors. If you 
don't then I'll be one to shoulder a musket and with others, to 
settle it the other way." 

That jury gave the defendants the limit and never more was 
that conununity molested by that or any other gang of law 
breakers. 

And what red letter days were those when Mr. B. H. Trusdell 
locked horns with his brother, Abi'am K. Trusdell, today the 
patriarch of Lee county's lawyers! Brilliant, profound, fearless, 
tactful, forceful, by the time these two giants had finished their 
case, nothing had been overlooked ; not a single question of fact ; 
liot a line of law had been forgotten. They gave and took. Some- 
times they rested on the verdict, but more often, the ease was 
followed until the court of hist resort liad declared for one or the 
other. 

I have heard the old prosecutor, AlcOartney, of Sterling, say 
that when the Messrs. Trusdell were arrayed on opposite sides of 
a case, that that case Avas the l)est tried case he ever had heard 
and for one, he derived great }»roHt in listening to the trial. 

I dwell upon the names of these two gentlemen, not because 
they were so gentle and kind to me, who as a boy was charged with 
responsibilities which if neglected, would lightly subject me to 
severe criticisms, but Ix'cause they were grand lawyers. 

How many times ha\e I seen them peep over my shoulder in 
a pleasant, friendly way. to see if my summonses and writs were 
issued correctly! Not in a critical, pretentious, pedantic sort of 
way {o rattle me and then o]»en on me with a battery of verbal 
artilleiy they knew so well how to level at an o]iponeut, but as 
friends. The older, Mr. B. II., was a man of magniticent physique; 
of commanding appearance and yet with me, his gentle ways always 
were suggestive, accoui])aHied with his laying his arm lightly across 
my shoulders; he ne\er was impatient with me. And for the other, 
Mr. AIn'ani l\., what cannot I say? INIv preceptor! How faith- 
fully he tut(»i'ed me! How ])leasantly he corrected my atrocious 
answers to hypothetical questions! How patiently too he guided 
my hand ihrouuli ihe intricacies of instructions and other docu- 
ments! And then there came the day when I must go tt) Ottawa 
for tile bar examination ! With the same fathei'ly interest, although 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 167 

pressed for time, lie left lousiness to go with me to Ottawa and dress 
up my courage at critical times. And all for me, a boy of trifling 
abilities, heedless, inappreciative and slovenly. And too, he never 
credited that important trip as one designed fur my Ijenetit. The 
rather, he made the remark casually that he too must go to Ottawa 
to make some motions. It is true he made many motions before the 
Supreme court on that momentous da}', lint the trip was made for 
my benefit ; to see me through and he never left my presence until 
the ordeal was passed and we had returned liome. 

Those were the men who made the Lee county bar famous. Such 
men gave it a name that must remain imi)erisha))le. Men afraid 
of no odds in a legal controversy, and }'et in the midst of a battle 
who could sa}' to a little boy: "May I troul)le you just a minute to 
hand me the files in this case f" How too would those older Lee 
county lawyers play jokes on one another; like boys almost. I can 
remember one occasion when John Stevens, the writer's father, was 
compelled to go to Springfield on a case pending before the 
Supreme court. Edwai'd Soutlnvick was of the party. Southwick 
was very dark. Southwick and Stevens were partners at the time 
too, but when jNIendota had been reached, and the passengers had 
gone into the dining I'oom foi' dinner, Stevens whis])ered in the 
ear of the landlord that a separate taljle should l)e })rovided for 
Southwick. No specific reason was given more than to nod and 
make a remai'k about his complexion. When Southwick attem]>ted 
to take a chair with his companions, the landlord took him by the 
arm and very gently hinted that he had provided a separate table 
for his colored guests. How the profanity did fly from Lawyer 
Southwick ! 

Perhaps I'd better not repeat the story of the bet John Stevens 
made with E. B. Stiles at a banquet, to the effect that he. Stevens, 
could eat Stiles' oysters. Nor had I better tell the reason why he 
was al)le to win. I may say, however, that Ste"\'ens Avon liis bet 
and ate Stiles' oysters. 

Even the good old circuit judges knew how to laugh. Can any- 
one ever forget the trial of that same E. B. Stiles for maintaining a 
nuisance in the form of a hog pen on Third street, right in the 
midst of a dense population? F(U' reasons best known to himself, 
■ Stiles defended himself without the assistance of eoimsel. He 
appeared armed with a very exhaustive brief from which he quoted 
when he wished to emphasize a point. That famous brief was writ- 
ten by that prince of wits, Benjamin F. Shaw. 



168 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

A man named Tooke, a nice old gentleman, bad the habit of 
asking for so many favors for his "Dixon Seminary" that be bad 
made himself tiresome to man}-. Stiles, when be bad reached a 
particularly strong point, affirmed his flight of oratory by opening 
bis brief with great dignity and begging permission to refer to 
"Tooke on Bores." 

Did Judge Heaton tine the defendant for contempt? Never! 
Like any other human being he laughed a good old-fashioned laugh 
that nearly split bis fat sides. Aaron L. Porter, twice or thrice 
sheriff, once bad an exjjerienee with a wheelbarrow, and right under 
the observation of that same Judge Heaton, and later in the trial 
when Stiles bad a pai'tieularly ol^stinate bit of law to overcome, be 
opened up his brief again and asked the court to refer to "Porter 
on Barrows." Verily, never did court or counsel or defendant 
pi'esent a day of such delicious luunor as the celebrated Stiles Hog 
Case, in which the jury acquitted the defendant and at the same 
time presented him with a purse of a dozen pennies with which to 
hire a law.yer for the next offense. 

Fiom the ^erv beginning of things, the services of Lee county 
lawyers were sought to go great distances to fight desperate cases. 
When the old Indian chief, Sba])boua, found himself helpless to 
combat the plots and countei' plots of Bogus Gates and his coterie 
of experts, it was Edward Southwick whose services were sought 
by the old chief. And Southwick went over to Shabbona's home in 
DeKalb coiuity and cleaned out the Gates crowd so eff'ectually that 
no member of it ever dared annoy Shali))ona thereafter. 

While William Smith, bidtlier of the INlormon prophet, resided 
in Lee county, be bad been quick to perceive the abilities of the 
lawyers of Lee comity, so that when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were 
thrown into the Carthage jail, S. G. Patiick and Edward South- 
wick, were sent for, post-haste, to defend them. Of course it is 
well known that the Smiths were shot without a trial, and before 
Patrick and Southwick could reach Carthage; but the point is 
illustrated when the fact has l^een stated that Lee county lawyers 
were souglit. avIicu what might have been the biggest case of the 
state's history, was likely to be tried. 

For a time, 1 was unable to determine wlio the first lawyer was 
to locate in Lee county. LTntil the September term, 18-12. when 
attorneys appeared for clients, the clerk did not name them ; but at 
that time, when a new peumausbip appeared on the records, the 
record writer began the custom of writing his records thus: "And 
Tiow comes the ]ilaintiff by , his attorney." 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 169 

Nevertheless, at the first term of the circuit court, beyuu on the 
third Monday of Aj^ril, 1840, quite unintentionally perhaps, I 
found the name of Edward Southwick, associated with W. W. Ful- 
lei", attorneys for the defendant sheriff in the case of Charles H. 
Cajtman A'ersus Aaron Wakelee. I. N. Balestier was attorney for 
the plaintiff. The latter was a Peoria lawyer. Fuller was an Ore- 
gon lawyer and Southwick was a Dixon lawyer. This led me to 
belie\'e Southwick was the tii'st lawyer. Just when he came to 
Dixon is unknown, but it nuist have been about the year 1836, 
because he was admitted to the bar of Illinois Nov. 25, 1836. Sub- 
sequent correspondence proves incontestibly that he was I^ee 
county's first lawyer. 

On Nov. 4, 1840, EdAvard Southwick appeared in court, and on 
his motion, William W. Heaton was admitted to practice, and so 
was AValter Merriman, who does not seem to be known as a Lee 
county lawyer. This would make him the second lawyer. Shepard 
(1. Patrick was admitted to practice, on the records of the clerk of 
the Supreme court, March 29, 1842, and the first time I found his 
name on the Lee county records, was under date May 4, 1843, when 
as senior member of the firm Patrick & Noble, he appeared in the 
Lee circuit court. 

In the records for May 6, 1843, 1 find the name of Cyrus Cham- 
l)erlain. as master in chancery of Lee county. If he was a lawyer 
he would come next to Southwick, ])ut no evidence exists that he 
ever i)racticed. Lorenzo Wood, who was admitted in Michigan, 
came to Dixon in 1842. Although his name always was included 
as a member of the bar, he never practiced. The same may be said 
of Roberts, of Roberts and Mackay. On Sept.'ll, 1843, I find also 
that Edward Southwick appeared in court and on his motion, John 
V. Eustace was admitted to j^iracticc. 

Southwick seems to have led in practice from the beginning, 
his name api^earing in four-fifths of all the eases, as attorney for 
one side or the other. Other names, most of them unfamiliar, are 
Edwin R. Mason, S. A. Mason, Chase (was it Ceorge or Charles'?), 
May, Kellogg, Eraser, AVallace, Evans, Wells, states attorney. 
From the appearance of the dockets, one must decide that litigation 
was common. I found one case whose term number was 111. 

But. to begin with, the first term of court, held in the school- 
house on the third Monday of April, 1840, was presided over by 
Judue Dan Stone, of Galena. He will l)e remembered as the mem • 
ber of the Legislature, who with Lincoln, signed what was designed 
to be a protest against a slavery resolution, passed by the lower 



170 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

House. Aarou Wakelee, was sheriff; Slieltou L. Hall, circuit 
attoruey and George W. Chase, clerk. The grand and petit jurors, 
selected by the county commissioners and mentioned in another 
place, with few exeei^tions, apjjeared and were sworn in. Those 
of the grand jui'v panel, who did not ai)pear, Avere Noah Bedee, 
David H. Birdsall and Peter T. Scott, and Judge Stone entered a 
rule on them to show cause why the}" should not be fined for con- 
tempt. I cannot find where they were fined, which makes it proba- 
ble that they purged themselves. 

Lee was attached to the Sixth judicial circuit Jan. 15, 1840, and 
the times for holding courts wei'e fixed for the third Mondays of 
April and September. The bonds of (lecn-ge W. Chase, clei'k, 
$2,000; Samuel Johnson, coroner, $2,000 and Aaron Wakelee, 
sheriff, $2,000, were brought into court and approved. 

There must have been at least forty-one cases on the first docket, 
because one of that number, Charles Franks vs. Thomas H. March, 
bill for injunction, was reached. 

The first ease on the docket was John M. Kinzie, the famous 
Chicago man of the early days, vs. William Wilkinson, appealed 
from Snuth (Jilbraith, a justice of the peace. It seems that Kinzie 
appeared at neither trial and so he was called in open court three 
times, and failing to appear, his appeal was dismissed, and the 
judgment of the court below, according to the practice of that day, 
was affirmed. A procedendo was issued and the costs taxed — the 
first case in the fee book — were $-1.17Vi.'- 

While the Kinzie case was first on. the docket, case number five 
(5) was the first case in which a motion was made, at that term, 
entitled, William V. Bradshaw vs. James Dacey and Daniel Car- 
penter. Defendants asked to ha\-e the case dismissed, and the 
moti(»n was overruled. 

Seven indictments were returned !»>• tlie gi'and jury; the first 
was against Zachariah Pliillips for kee})ing a gaming house; the 
second was against the same jxirty for keeping a billiard table; the 
third was against Jude W. Hamilton, for selling liquor without a 
license; the fifth was against Caleb Tallmage (shades of Black- 
stone and Kent ! It was Deacon Talhnage !) for selling liquor with- 
out a license ; sixth, John and Joshua Cutshaw, for selling liquor 
without license, and seventh against John B. Wilson, for forgery, 
coimterf citing and i)assing comiterfeit money. 

Hamilton, with a man named Chapman, ran a store in the orig- 
inal John Dixon house in 1836. Their establishment was the first 
opened in Dixon. He is also reputed to have built the first 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 171 

frame building in JJixou, a little affair Avliicli sat close to the east 
wall of the brick building on the alley, First street, between Ottawa 
and Galena avenues, owned by George Downing and occupied by 
the American Express Company and another tenant. 

Hamilton was foimd guilty and fined $10 and costs. Tallniage 
was found not guilty. The Cutshaws gave bond for theii' appear- 
ance and then defaulted it. 

At this term of court, the first "lirst" naturalization papers 
were issued to Nelson Thurston, who declared his intention to 
become a citizen. 

A sjDecial term was called for the first Monday of November, 
1840, at which the cases on the docket had run up to at least one 
hundred and eleven. 

Our old friend Frederick R. Dutcher, cut considerable of a 
figure at this term of court. He and Smith Gilbraith were the two 
justices of the peace, elected at the first election held for the pur- 
pose and it seems he married a couple without having a marriage 
license. The circumstance must have cut a great figure in con- 
temporaneous history, because he was indicted three times at this 
term and once in ^Nlay, 1843 ; but he got away from it all after con- 
siderable litigation. A party named Knowltou was his attorney. 
On SejDt. 19, 1842, Michael Fellows, our first recorder, first appears 
on record. He was made deputy cireiut clerk on that day by G. W. 
Chase, the clerk. 

In 1856, James K. Edsall, who subsequently l^ecame Attorney- 
General of the state, came to Dixon from Kansas, where he had 
been a member of the Legislature. 

In August, 1855, a directory printed in a newspaper called the 
Daily Whisper, contained the following list of Dixon lawyers: 
1\ R. Danna, John Stevens, John V. Eustace, Heaton and Ather- 
ton, J. D. Mackay, S. G. Patrick, Frederick A. Soule and Edward 
Southwick. Lorenzo Wood slK)Tdd be included, although he and 
Danna nor Soulc practiced actively. AYood. liowcvei'. in 1849. had 
his sign out in Dixon, as a lawj^er. 

In 1845, a correspondent writing for a Rockford paper, made 
the statement that there were six lawyei's in Dixon. They were so 
far as known Edward Southwick, S. G. Patrick, Silas Noble, Wil- 
liam W. Fleaton, John V. Eustace and Lorenzo Wood. 

John Y. Ei;stace later, in 1856, became a member of the Ijcgis- 
lature. He introduced a bill making a new circuit, which was 
passc^l and he became judge of that circuit from the ranks of Lee 
countv attorncvs. He served until 18()1. when Judgc^ AYilliam W. 



172 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Heatou was elected, ^^'hell the law establishiug the appellate 
courts was passed, Judge Heatou was appointed to the appellate 
bench and became the first presiding judge for the first, Chicago, 
distiict. He died in 1878, while in office and Judge John V. Eustace 
was elected to fill the vacancy. Judge Eustace died in office and 
Judge John 1). (Jraljtree was elected to the office and very soon was 
elevated to the appellate bench for the second district. He too died 
in office and Judge Farraud was elected to the office which he has 
held ever since. Thus it will be seen Lee county has furnished a 
circuit judge e^'er since the year 1856, and an appellate court judge 
for two of the districts of the state. 

From the Lee county bar, Solomon Hicks Bethea was made a 
judge of the United States district court, in Chicago. Sherwood 
Dixon, S. H. Bethea, Charles B. Moiiison and William B. Sterling, 
all occupied the position of United States district attorney, the first 
three for the northern district of Illinois and the last named for 
the State of South Dakota. 

William Barge tot) was one of the big lawvers of Illinois. He 
enjoyed a very large practice and was known the state over as a 
lawyer of great learning and power. To come to the present bar of 
Lee county, it ranks as it always has raidced. The present dean 
is Abram K. Trusdell, wlio has retired from active work to enjoy 
a competency he has reserved from a large and active practice. 
The firm name is Trusdell, Smith and Leech. Mr. Clyde Smith has 
fought and won in the highest courts, and that too, lately, some of 
the most important cases which have come before them. ^Ir. Wil- 
liam L. Leech, the junior jjartner, resides in Amboy. 

In the celebrated Miller case, Mr. Clyde Smith won the dis- 
tinction of securing in the laws of evidence, a new rule, of such im- 
portance and potency that not (^nly has it been adopted as a leading 
case on "handwriting," but all text books liave incorjioratt'd it in 
theii' new editions. The law schools too teach evidence of "hand- 
writing by ('oni])arison," from the ])rinciples Mr. Smith estab- 
lished in the Miller case. This ease today enjoys as much fame 
as the celebrated "rule in Shelley's case" enjoyed of old. 

Hiram A. Brooks and Clarence C. Brooks, as Brooks & Brooks, 
enjoy an extensive business. 1\L-. IT. A. Brooks is regarded as one 
of the strongest trial lawyers in Illinois at this "|)eriod. J. W. 
Watts, who is the head i>\' the law schodl. is niost deejdy learned in 
the law, and lie is kiKiwii I'ar and wide. The graduates from his 
law school occupy important positions bcrorc the bar in half the 
states of the Union and several othei's arc upon the state and 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 17:{ 

national benches. Still others are today United States attorneys. 
Recently the alunnii of his school foi'med themselves into a society 
and many met in Dixon to enju}' a banquet. 

Henry S. Dixon and George 0. Dixon, as Dixon & Dixon, suns 
of Sherwood Dixon and great grandsons of John Dixon, occupy 
prominent positions as lawj'ers. Their father Avas recognized as 
one of the foremost lawyers of his time, and they enjoy the heiitagc; 
of that name as well as the support and contidence of a large client- 
age, made up largely of big corpoi'ations, like the Illinois Central 
and Northwestern steam railroads and the local Intra Mural Sur- 
face I'ailroad between Dixon and Sterling, as well as our big Illi- 
nois Northern Utilities Company. As successors of the lirni Dixon 
(Sherwood) & Bethea, Morrison & Bethea, and Morrison, Bethea 
& Dixon (H. S. ), Messrs. Dixon & Dixon came into a fine practici'. 
One thing is most remarkable about these firms; Sherwood Dixon, 
S. II. Bethea and Charles B. Morrison, in the order named, were 
made Ignited States district attorneys for the northern district of 
Illinois, from continuations of the same partnership. Edward H. 
Brewster is in the enjoyment of a splendid practice. Associated 
with him is his brother, C-harles \V. The foimer was states attor- 
ney and is the legal adviser of the cement company, the biggest of 
its kind in the country. When big corporations want good lawyers 
they have lieen in thv habit of selecting Dixon lawyers. Foi' years 
Mr. John E. Erwin has taken the position of a leading criminal 
lawyer of Illinois. During the past year he has handled three of 
the most noted criminal cases of the state. Two of them were des- 
perate. Probably for 1>lood curdling atrocity, the Doctor AYel)stei' 
case will rank first for long years U> conic and in each case he not 
only got his men oft' Avith their lives. l)ut in one instance he secured 
the liberty of his client. 

Lee county has been fortunate in its public prosecutors, espe- 
cially Avith Messrs. C^harles B. Moi'rison, Edward H. Brewster, 
Charles H. Wooster and Harry Edwards. These gentlemen made 
great reputaticms. Mr. Wooster lives in Aml^oy and he enjoys one 
of the largest practices in the coiinty. George P. Goodwin was 
another of the old time big lawyers of Lee county. When he 
became commissioner of the land department for the Chicago and 
Northwestern railroad, he left active practice. On his death. Judge 
Crabtree took the ])Osition, Imt })referring active practice he 
returned to Dixon and latei" wa^ elected state Senator and then 
circuit judge. 



174 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

James K. Edsall was elected state Henator first and that office 
was made the stepping stoue to tlie more important one of Attor- 
ney-General which he held for two terms. In that office he made a 
great name as a lawyer and in the United States Supreme court 
records, his name will be found associated with some of the noted 
Illinois litigation. While in Dixon he was employed by the son of 
Lewis Clapp to light the will of that testator. Judge Eustace pre- 
sided and he decided in favor of Mr. Edsall's contention to the 
effect that an executor could not be endowed with the discretionary 
power given in this will. Thus an estate of something like half a 
million dollars, passed to the son instead of to the erection of an 
agricidtural college. Lewis Clapp, at his death, was the richest 
man in Lee county. 

For careful and very able effort in the management of cases, 
Messrs. Wingcrt & Wingert have no superiors before this or any 
other bar. Their defense, last smnmer, of Dr. S. M. Green, indicted 
for manslaughter, was generally admitted to be one of the master- 
pieces of trial work. The jur.y acquitted Doctor Green. But what- 
ever the case may be, common law, chancery or criminal, they are 
the same clear, close and able men and by the time the case has been 
digested, it is safe to say not one solitary point has escaped their 
observation and study. The statement that they are splendid law- 
yers will bear repetition many times. 

John P. Devine is walking rapidly to the front as a lawyer of 
the first abilities. Last year he was elected representative in the 
Geneial Assembly and what is unusual for a new member, he was 
placed upon the most important conunittees in the House. To him 
Governor Dunne looked for sup])ort in the many trying emergen- 
cies which arose and in not one single instance did Mr. Devine err 
in judgment or Avaver in his support of the Governor's efforts to 
pass reform bills. His i-emarkable i-ecord has given him a com- 
manding po])ularity and influence in the state. 

Albert H. Hanneken, one of the younger members of the bar, 
has reached a strong ])osition in a marvelously short period. His 
])ractice already I'caches the vobiuic that many of the old time 
practitioners never realized to their very last clays. 

At one time in his career, a criminal had been charged with the 
conunissioii of an offence from which no escape seemed possible. 
He liad i>artici])ate(l in the theft of a \alual)le aiitomobile. He 
had been cauglit red handed, in assigning him counsel, it was 
assumed as a matter of course he would be convicted and so would 
make a fit subject for one of the younger lawyers to ]U"actice on. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 175 

Accordingly Mr. Hauuekeu was selected. To everybody's aston- 
ishment he selected his jury with a discretion and a vim that indi- 
cated a tight of the first magnitude. Over a day w^as cousmned in 
the trial of the case and when the jury returned their verdict, it 
acquitted Mr. Hauneken's client and convicted the co-defendant. 
Other incidents at the same tei'ui happened, just as important and 
to the average layman, just as unusual. That ended abruptly, Mr. 
Hanneken's apprenticeship and today he occupies a position which 
is impregnable. 

City Attorney Mark C. Keller, by reason of a long list of special 
assessment cases, and the s^iecessful management of them, has won 
the reputation of being one of the strongest lawyers of the bar. 
It is his privilege to boast that he never has been beaten in one of 
his cases. 

Mr. G rover AV. Gehaut is the yonngest member of the bar toda}'. 
In most instances it is the experience of ,youBg lawyers to wait long 
and patiently for business. Mr. Gehant is a notable exception to 
this rule. In less than a year's time he found himself engaged in 
some of the biggest cases on the calendar. By reason of the long 
illness of Mr. A. C. Bardwell, the master in chancery, in whose 
office Mr. Gehant had l^ecome installed, it fell ti» his lot to unravel 
some of the knottiest problems the chancery docket presented and 
he did it in a masterful way. Net results : he was immersed in busi- 
ness immediately. 

I cannot overlook Arthur G. Haii'is, John B. Crabtree and Wil- 
liam H. Winn. 

Oui- youngest lawyer is Jolm J. Armstrong ; liut he is the l)est 
developed youngster in this county of Lee. 

Judge Eobert H. Scott, county judge, never has sought active 
practice. He has contented himself with his official duties. 

Messrs. A. C. and Henry C. Warner enjoy the largest probate 
practice in the circuit. The senior member in his yotniger days was 
deputy count}' and circuit clerk and deputy treasurer and it is not 
saying too much to pronounce him the best probate lawyer in 
Northern Illinois. 

And here is another phenomenon which the Lee county bar 
presents. I may safely challenge any other comity to reproduce 
anothei' such instance. 

Down in the southeast township of this county a little village 
of perhaps six hundred souls, stands. It is surrounded l)y a land 
virtually flowing in milk and honey. Its i:»eoi)le are wealthy, almost 
to the last person. 



176 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

In that couteuted, law-abiding connnunity is stationed Charles 
F. Preston, the lawyer who enjoys the most lucrative i^ractice in 
Lee county. Bj' sheer ability, honesty, sobriety and industry, he 
has won this brilliant distinction and I beg to assert that he has met 
for years, foemen worthy any wariior's steel. Three counties, Lee, 
LaSalle and DeKalb, pay tribute to him almost reverentially. 

Purposely I have reserved this place for one of the best loved 
men who over lived in this comnmuity. The first letter of his name 
is the first in the alphabet, and I suppose I should have begun with 
him. As one of the very first of our citizens, I suppose I should 
have selected his name as number one. As a continuous resident 
of Dixon since 1854, how may I excuse this delay'? In delaying 
this little reference, I may have shown wretched taste. But I am 
sure the reader will iidt convict me. 

Jason C. Ayres has been a member of the Lee comity bar for 
long years. He never has practiced actively, because of the large 
interests which year after year have engaged his attention other- 
wise. 

Nevertheless, he never has permitted himself to get beyond hail- 
ing distance from his brothei'S. 

He is president of the Dixon National Bank. He is a large 
real-estate holder. In the process of building up his large fortune, 
othei's reposed such confidence in him and his judgment that drafts 
for amounts almost unlimited, drawn by Mr. Ayres, would have 
been lumored at siglit. Of such men, the Lee county bar and the 
Lee county jx'ople are proud. 

Thirty-se\'en years ago a couple of youngsters from Lee county 
presented themselves before the Supreme court for the bar exami- 
nation. Their pulses ran high. They passed. Both Mxe in Lee 
county t(»day. One lives in Aniboy, one in Dixon. The first is my 
very dear old friend, .1. E. Lewis, tried and true and generous ; the 
dean of 7\mboy's lawyers. And there too may be found Charles H. 
Wooster, P. M. James. Charles E. Ives and William L. Leech, able, 
strong, successful; the two Charlies — boyhood friends as true as 
steel. 

Numbers never made things l)etter. Amboy ranks second to 
Dixon nmnerically, biit in Amboy will be found a little city with as 
many loyal, royal i^eople, man for man. as in any connmmity under 
the sun, and of those i)eo])le, you will })ardon me if, with my life- 
time of association with J. E. Ijcwis, Charles H. Wooster and 
Charles K. Ives, members of flic Lee countv liar. I am drawn a 



HISTORY OF LEE COl XTY 177 

little closer towards them and reserve fur them a few more words, 
before I say good bj'e. 

ATTORXEYS (JF THE LEE COUXTY BAR 

Charles E. Ives, P. M. James. J. E. Lewis, William L. Leech, 
S. B. Pool. Charles H. Wooster, iVmboy; Jason C. Ayres, A. (J. 
Bardwell, E. H. Brewster, Charles ^Y. Brewster, Hiram A. Brooks, 
C. C. Brooks, John B. Crabtree, Heni'y S. Dixon, George C. I)ixon, 
John P. Devine, John E. Erwiu, Hari'v Edwards, Grover W. 
Gehaut, M. J. Gannon, Jr., A. G. Harris, A. H. Hannekeu, Mark C. 
Keller, A. W. Lelaud, Charles B. Morrison, J. E. Palmer, W. E. 
Pre.stou, Clyde Smith. Robert H. 8cott, J. O. Shaulis, Harvey 
Sindlinger, A. K. Trusdell, A. C. Warner, J. W. Watts, E. E. Win- 
gert, AVilliam H. Winn. Henry C. Warner. Dixon: J. W. McHale, 
Charles E. Preston. Paw Paw. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE LEE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES AND 

FAIRS 

With the fluctuations of human interest and the caprice of the 
people who raise up interesting features and then when surfeited, 
like an old plaything, throw^ them away, the county fair may be 
classed as a creature created and reared and supported in luxury, 
and then al^andoned. Twice since the first societ.y was started July 
14, 1858, it has languished and has been revived, the last time by the 
citizens of Aml^oy, under whose fostering care it seems likely to 
live on forever, as it should, because the county fair is an institu- 
tion of the greatest value to a community as an educator and as a 
playgroTuid. During the infancy of the county, William H. Van 
Epps was the tower of strength which supported the first fairs ever 
held in Lee county. 

Mr. Van Epps was a man of great wealth, of Ijoundless enthu- 
siasm when it came to matters of agriculture or the welfare of 
Dixon and Lee county. He was the first president of the first fair 
association and his energy made the old fairs the tremendous 
successes that they were. 

Who is there who can remember back into the fifties, who will 
forget the old fair grounds located just eastward from the ceme- 
tery'? The eastern portion of the pi'esent cemeter}" was once the 
western extreme of that old fair ground. Even w^ell along into the 
sixties the old fair groinids were mighty familiar to the jieople of 
the county and to every school child as well. 

In those days it was the custom to admit the children to the fair 
on the Ijig day, during each session and to the most of us those days 
w^ere the red letter days of our li\'es. The side shows then were 
part of the fair. The Ijarker flourished in all his luxuriousncss. 
The sword swallower delighted the kids; the snake charmer either 

179 



180 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

frightened or awed tliein intu dreadful silence. The fat AVunian 
and the fortune teller lured tlie unwary or delighted the unsophis- 
ticated. Oh ! AVhat glorious old days those were to us kids ! 

And don't you remember the day the body of the jewelry ped- 
dler was found in the woods by boys in a sad state of decomposi- 
tion? The poor fellow was murdered by his partner. They went 
into the woods to cut crotched supports for their tent stall and 
after the su^jpoi'ts had been cut, the axe was used to cleave his skull, 
and so the i:)Oor fellow? was buried wliere his decayed body was 
found and there his dust 2'ests today. Until vt'r}' recently, I knew 
the spot S(» well I could tiud it in the night time. The little mound 
remained there to indicate the spot, so late as the year 1875. 

And in that old fair ground the Thirteenth Regiment of Illi- 
nois Volunteei'S camped and the Ijuildings were used for barracks 
until one Sunday morning the boys marched out to the fife and the 
drmn to take the Illinois Cientral trains provided fur their trans- 
portation to the theatre of war, as has been pictured so faithfully 
by Mrs. S. S. Dodge in another part of this book. 

Largely through the efforts of ^Ir. Van Ej^ps, the first county 
agricultural society was formed and in the year 1858, the first fair 
was held in the old fair grounds near the cemetery. As I have 
stated, William H. Van Ei)])s was the first president of the society 
and in this connection it may l)e stated also that he was vice-presi- 
dent of the state society during the yeai's 1859 and ISfiO. At the 
next biennial election he was made president of the state society. 
Tlie other officers for the first vear were : James ( '. Mead, recording 
secretary; James A. Llawley, financial secretary; William Butler, 
treasurer; A. E. Whitney of Fiaiikliii (irove, .Iose])h T. Little of 
Dixon, F. W. Cot' of Palmyra, Abi'am Brown of South Dixon, Wil- 
liam LThl of Dixon, Lorenzo Wood of Dixon, Seth 11. W'lutniore of 
Dixon, Hiram Tei'ry of Dixon and Joint .Moore of Dixon, comprised 
the executive conunittee. 

The officers of the society for 1859 were : President, AVilliani H. 
Van E])])s; vice presidents, Horace Preston, Aml)oy; Tliomas S. 
Hulbert, Bradford; Jolui 1\. Robison, Bi-ooklyn; (Charles Brackett, 
China; Jose])h Pliodes. Dixon; A. .L ("oltriii, llaniiitoii; .1. 
McManus, Hai-mon; Lewis Ola])]), Lee (Center; dolm T. Phillips, 
Marion; R. B. Viele, May; A. I). Moon, Palmyra; 0. Reynolds, 
Reynolds; Wesson Flolton, Willow ('reek, and Hiram Teriy. AA'yo- 
miug; treasurer, Henry T. Noble; recording secretary, Uharles V. 
Temiey ; concsponding secretary, Joseph T. Little; executive com- 
mittee, A. \i. Wbitnev, V. AY. ( 'oe, Setli H. AYliituK.iv. John Abiore, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 181 

H. E. AVilliams, John Deineiit. (Jharlcs Hansen, Charles (iardner 
and AVilliam Butler. 

The second fair began its session on Monday, Oct. 10, 1859, and 
continued with increasing interest, the entire week. The weather 
was pleasant, with the exception of the second day when it was 
rainy, with a cold east wind. The crowds in attendance were very 
large. 

There were 167 entries of (-attic; 2()9 of horses; 86 of swine; 75 
of sheep; 141 of farm products; 44 of poultry; 53 of agricultui-al 
iinpk-ments ; 63 of fruits and flowers; 63 of preserves and jellies; 
49 of domestic manufactures ; 29 of household fabrics ; 63 of paint- 
ings and drawings ; 112 of household implements ; 38 of mechanic 
arts; 36 plowing match; 9 ladies' equestrianship, and Ki miscel- 
laneous. 

There was paid out for 1858 premium disbursements, $75.50 ; 
1859 premimns, $1,448.60. What a jump! Expense account, 
$1,921.58 ; cash balance, $71.15 ; total, $3,516.83. 

So that it will be seen at once, after the first year's experiment, 
there was a tremendous interest manifested in the fair by the 
people of the county. Among the notal)le exhil)its shown was the 
collection of Doctor Everett's geological and natural history speci- 
mens, all the pi'oduct of the Rock river Aallcy. Hon. James Shaw 
of Mount Carroll also exhibited his very large collection of geolog- 
ical sjieeimens. 

Tlie piowmaicers, Audrus and Boswortii of ( irand Detour, mak- 
ing the Grand Detour plows, and John Dement, making the John 
Dement plow, made very attractive exhibits at this fair. Tiiis 
shows that thus early in the history of the county and city. Col. 
John Dement was a manufacturer of plows. And it may as well 
be said in this connection, tiiat when he discontinued making them, 
John Deere, of Moline, personally came to Dixon and hired all of 
the (*olouel's ]ilow makers to go to Abilinc and work for tlic Deere 
com])nn\'. 

( 'olonel iJement always exliihited at tlie state fairs, and I liave 
before me the report of one fair at Springfield in which Colonel 
Dement "s plows were paid a \'ei'v Ingh compliment. Tn the face 
of the strongest possible comi)etition, he was awarded the first 
premimns over everytlnng else. For over twenty yeai'S his plows 
stood at the head of the list. 

Mr. John Courtright also had at this second fair a sorglinm mill 
whicli h(^ operated on the grounds and which attracted great 
attention. 



182 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Hon. James Shaw, of Mount Carroll, made the address. 

During' the year several new buildings were built: an editor's 
hall, art hall, dining hall, farm products hall, ticket and treasurer's 
office, secretary's office, a public wash room and a grand stand to 
seat 1,0U0 persons. Over in the stock department, the number of 
buildings was doubled. 

This year must have been one of severe drought, because Mr. 
Little speaks about the tine and very large line of exlubits in the 
face of the sevei-e drought of the summer and fall. 

The tirst year's fair, notwithstanding its marking the beginning 
of the annual meetings, was a siiccess ; so much so that the officers 
felt warranted in going forwai-d with the extensive improvements 
wliich I have mentioned. These fairs grew in interest for several 
years when the vast di'ain of our resources by the demands of the 
Civil war killed the fairs pretty generally over this part of the 
state, this one included. 

On June 2, 1870, another fair association, called the Dixon Park 
Association, liought extensive grounds just west of town where a 
fine set of splendid buildings Avere erected and where a line half 
mile track was built. 

The fairs in the latter grounds were well attended foi' ten years. 
The races brought large ninnl^ers of horses to the track and the fair 
was a money maker. But with the proliil)iti(Mi of pool selling and 
the decline of interest in fairs, this one languished and died, and no 
further efforts at holding a coiuity fair were expended until three 
years ago when William L. Ijeecli, of Amboy, interested a number 
of friends and in the beautiful Green River park, which the city 
generously loaned for the purpose, the first fair was held. It was 
a great success from the start. The second year was a greater 
success and the present year was a record breaker. Its affairs are 
managed b,y a board of directoi's and they are elected by the stock- 
holders of the association. 

Oil! yes, I had forgotten to note the fact that the tirst grounds 
had a first class half mile track, forty feet Avide. 

For more of the Amboy Fair Association, the reader should 
read the very interesting account, "Amboy of Today," by Mr. P. 
M. James. 




OLD SEMINARY IX llLrKF I'AKl 



CHAPTER XIII 
THE DIXON SCHOOLS 

John K. Robison, later of IMelugiu's Grove, was the first school 
teacher in Lee county, and a Miss Butler, who came over from 
Bureau coimty, was the next. Both tutored the children of Mr. 
Dixon, Mr. Robison in 1833 and Miss Butler, later. For a time 
it was the custom of the Dixons to send their children up to the 
Kellogg 's place in Buffalo Clrove to be tutored, and then in turn 
the Kellogg children would be sent to the Dixon home. The chil- 
dren of the two families thus were tutored together. 

In the year 1837, a schoolhouse was built on the lot just east 
of the Mrs. P. P. Starin residence, southeast corner of Fourth 
street and Crawford avenue. This building was paid for by private 
subscriptions from the thirteen families then living here. The 
building was a frame one-story building twenty by thirty feet, and 
later was moved to the lot on the southwest corner of Ottawa 
avenue and the alley known as Truman court or alley miming east 
and west l^etween First and Second streets. In the latter location 
it Avas used later as courthouse, town hall, meeting-house, etc. 

In 1838 H. Bicknell taught this first school until about the 
summer vacation of 1810. During the year 1810, one Mi'. Bowen 
taught the school, but an indiscretion shortened his stay. (There 
were others.) One day he notified his pupils to come early, as he 
had a great natural curiosity to show them. Next morning he 
climbed through the scuttle and in the character of a Ijear he cut 
all sorts of capers. Immediately the boys set upon him with clubs 
and poles and that ended Mr. Bowen 's school teaching days. 

Beginning Avith the fall term of 1811 and extending to the 
spring term of 1842, William W. Heaton, later circuit judge, 
taught this school. During the tutelage of those gentlemenu 
Orlando and Jane Anne Herrick, (later Mrs. Col. H. T. Noble), 
George Foote (of Hazelwood), and Mrs. Daniel B. McKenney, are 

183 



184 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

among tlie pupils knowu to lia^'e attended. Duriug the summer of 
1843, Miss Ophelia Lovelaud, (later Mrs. J. B. Brooks) taught this 
district school which included both sides of the river and upstream 
as far as Stephen Fuller's. (Fuller's cave.) 

The teacher's compensation from tuition generally was paid iu 
pork, corn, potatoes, fowls, etc. 

Mr. O. F. Ayres was a director duriug the incumbency of Judge 
Heaton. The latter had flogged a boy; the enraged parents pro- 
posed a flogging for the stripling, Heaton, but as in other cases of 
the sort, the sti'ipling was not touched, and Mr. Ayres and the 
. stripling averted a scene. 

During the year 1844, by reason of a sale of the lot, Jolm Van 
Arnam claimed the building as a pai't of the realty, and he declared 
his intention of keeping it. 

John Hogan, later a member of Congress from St. Louis, orig- 
inated a plan for the removal of the building. Aaron L. Porter, 
Judge Heaton, and Nathaniel CI. H. Monill. were conspicuous aids 
and during the night the building was removed a safe distance 
from the lot and saved. That was a famous old building in its day ; 
so famous, indeed, that I have copied verbatim, the late Dr. Oliver 
Everett's story of it : 

"In looking o^er, recently, some old jjapers, I came across the 
subscription papei' for building the first schoolhouse in Dixon, 
and have thought that it would not be without interest to many of 
your readers. The i^aper was got up in January, 1837, and con- 
tains many names familiar to the old settlers. The suljscription 
paper reads as follows : 

"We, the subscribers, agree to pay the sums se\erally attached 
to our names, for the purpose of erecting a schoolhouse in the 
town of Dixon. Said schoolhouse shall be for the teaching of 
primary schools, and shall l)e open for religious meetings of all 
denominations, Avlien not occupied by the schools. 

"Said house shall be one story high and at least forty foot by 
twenty on the groiuid, .-uul slmll contain two rooms which shall be 
connected by a door or doors, as may be thowght proper. 

"The sul)S('ril)ers shall meet on ^NFonday, the 20th day of Febru- 
ary 7iext. at () o'clock, P. M., and choose three trustees to siiperin- 
tend 1lie building of said house. The trustees shall have power to 
collect the money suliscribed, contract For and ])urchas(^ matei'ials 
for said house, and eniplox' woikmen to bnild tlie same. They shall 
see that it is done in a ])lain, workmanlil-:e manner, so far as the 
fuiids shall warrant. 




OLD FIRST METHODIST EPISCOrAL CHURCH AND FIRST HIGH SCHOOL 




THE FIRST BRICK RESIDEXCE. DIXON" 
Built in 1S46 by Horace Preston. On east side Peoria Avenue, near Kiist Street 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 185 

"Names — James P. Dixon. $25; Oliver Everett, $25; Julm 
Wilson, $25; Caleb Tallmadge, $20; J. B. Barr, $10; Sanmel 
Leonard, $5 ; Jacob Rue, $5 ; B. B. Brown, $5 ; Samuel (ratten, $5 ; 
Edwin Hine, $5 ; Elijah Dixon, $15 ; Hiram P. Parks, $10 ; Jnlui q. 
Adams, 10 cents, (Expunged) ; Setli D. Biittain, $20, (If he settles 
here); Lemuel Huft', $15; Alanson Dickerman, $5; John Snider, 
$5 ; H. Martin, $5 ; W. P. Burroughs, $15 ; John Dixon, $20 ; L S. 
Boardmau, $10; A friend, $5; M. McCabe, $10; Allen Wiley. 
$10; J. W. Hamilton, $5; George L. Chapman, $5; W. H. Rowe, 
$10; J. W. Dixon, $10; E. W. Covell, $25; E. A. Statia, $5; S. W. 
Johnson, $10; Robert Murray. $10; Sanmel C. MeClure, $15; Mrs. 
E. N. Hamilton, $15; Horace Thompson, $5; Mrs. R. Dixon, $30; 
L. D. Butler, $5 ; W. L. Dixon, $5 ; Mrs. A. Tallmadge, $5 ; Mrs. M. 
H. Barr, $10; J. ]\Iurphy, $10; N. W. Brown, $5; S. M. Bounnan, 
$10; John Richards, $10; C. F. Hubbard, $5; W. W. Graham, $5; 
T. L. Hubbard, $5; John Carr, $5; George Kip, $5; William 
Graham, $5. 

"It will l)e noticed that many of the subscriljers were per.sons 
living some distance in the country and of those who came to the 
count}' during the next season. The reason that Father Dixon's 
name was not at or near the head of the list, is, that he was away 
that winter to Vandalia, then the capital of the state. It may also 
be noticed that the matter dragged somewhat, as such enterprises 
often do, and the ladies to(»k it u}), ^Irs. I)ix<m giving the largest 
subscription on the list, and ]\[rs. Hamilton a generous amount. 
Again, it may be noticed that one John (^. Adams, not our y)resent 
John (}. Adams, but an unworthy bearer of a great name, in sub- 
seril)ing, put two 00 where the d()Ilars ought to have been, making 
his subscription but ten cents. When Ills attention was called to it 
he said it was just as he intended to have it. His name was dealt 
with as was fashionalile at that time; it was expunged. 

"The old house was l)uilt during the summer of 1837, of the 
size and form specified in tlie subscription paper, aliout twenty 
rods Avest (jf the cemetery, on or neai' lot one, lilock sixty-nine, now 
occupied by Harvey Smith. It was ))uilt perfectly plain, without a 
cornice, and enclosed with undressed oak siding and a hard avoikI 
shingle roof. The inside consisted of two rooms, one six feet l)y 
twenty I'xtending across the end of the building, serving as au 
entrance way or A-estibule to the main room, which was twenty by 
thirty-four feet. Avitli three windows on either side and one at the 
end of the room opposite the entrance. It was plastered on the 
inside with a sinc'le coat of coarse lirown mortar, and was warmed 



186 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

during winter with a wood fire iu a large box stove. In 1839 it was 
moved down on the north end of lot 5, block 17, on the west 
side of Ottawa street, just south of the residence of Doctor Nash, 
now occupied by Daniel McKenney, fronting to the north upon the 
alley. There it remained for several years and was used for school- 
house, meeting-house, and courthouse (the first three terms of the 
circuit court of Lee county were held in it ) ; elections and political 
meetings and conventions were held in it, and it was always used 
for whatever other purpose the people might congregate. 

' ' The old schoolhouse was very plain, rough aud uninviting to 
look u]3on, but there are many recollections associated with it which 
are always dwelt upon by the early settlers with great interest, and 
should make the memory of it dear to the people of Dixon. It was 
within its rough brown walls that the veneral)le and revered 
Bisliop Chase, then senior bishop of the American Episcopal 
Church, first preached to the scattered meml)ers of his fold as were 
hereabout, and broke to them the bread of the sacrament, and 
where Rev. James DePui, a man of rare cultiu-e and gentle, and 
genial social qualities, preached for more than twelve months. It 
was there that the Methodist and Baptist churches of this place 
were formed and nurtured in their infancy. The Rev. Dr. Hitch- 
cock and the Rev. Philo Judson, who for nearly half a century have 
been among the foremost laborers in the great and beneficent organ- 
ization to which they belong, then in the vigor of early manhood, 
each preached his two years there. The Rev. Thomas Powell, a 
devoted missionary of the Baptist denomination, well known 
among the early settlers of no ineonsidei'alile portion of the state 
for his indefatigal)le and faithful ser\-ice in the religious interest 
of the people, then often living remote f I'om each other, and either 
destitute or l^ut poorly supplied with competent religious teachers, 
often lield services in the old schoolhouse. and officiated at the 
formation of the Baptist Church of Dixon. Also the Rev. Burton 
Carjieuter, the remembrance of whose labors here is cherished by 
ninny of the old settlors, and wlio, iu the higii standing he after- 
wards attained in the denomination to whicli he belongs, aud in a 
life of great usefulness in another part of the state, has not dis- 
appointed the expectations of his early friends, connnenced his 
labors in the ministry and preached about tlu'ee years in this same 
old schoolhouse. During nearly the whole time religious services 
were held in the old schoolhouse, the Methodist aud Baptist congre- 
tiations occuiticd it alternate Sundavs. the Methodist clergyman 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 1S7 

preacliing at Inlet Gi'(i\'(' or yugar (Irove, and Mr. Carpenter at 
Buffalo Grove the intervening Sabbaths. 

"In the spring of IS-IO, there was a convention of the whig- 
party of the Jo Daviess representative district which embraced the 
whole northwestern part ot the state, held at the schoolhouse, and 
Thomas Drunmiond, known in this generation as Jndge Drum- 
moud of the United States court at Chicago, then a A'oung lawyer 
of Galena, Avas nominated as a candidate for member of the House 
of Representatives in the State Legislatiire. He represented an 
extent of territoi'y now C(jnstituting nearly two congressional dis- 
tricts. Among the teachers in the old schoolhouse was the late, 
lamented AV. W. Heaton, whom the citizens of Dixim have seen 
rise by his industry and legal acquirements from the schoolmaster's 
chair to the bench. 

"In the beginning of the year 1843, the Metliodist church was 
finished and dedicated and the courthouse was so far completed 
that the courts were held in it and it was used for religious and 
political meetings, and the old schoolhouse fell into comparative 
disuse. 

"Sometime during the 3'ear 1844, it l)egan to be noised about 
that John Van Arnam claimed the old schoolhouse .Jis his ^jroperty, 
as he had purchased the lot upon Avliich it stood. One day the 
people were notified that upon a ta]» on their windows the night 
following, they might know that they were wanted at the school- 
house, and the less said about it the bettei'. Upon arriving there we 
found it surrounded by a great crowd, busy at work. Some were 
raising the Ijuilding with crowbars and levers, others adjusting 
planks and rollers under the sills. There was that prince of movers 
of old buildings, X. G. H. ^Morrill, as usual directing operations, not 
giving authoritative orders to othei's, Ymt by taking hold and sh(_^w- 
ing them how, by doing the major part of the work himself. The 
industrious crowd tugged away in silence or talking in whispers 
or suppressed tones, now moving the heav\- oak liuilding an inch or 
two and again making a more fortunate move and getting aliead 
several inches or ()ne or two feet, until it was thought the building 
was entirely over the edge of the lot, but by pacing from the street 
and making obsei'vations in the dark, it was thouglit liest to give it 
just another little shove to make the thing sure. So all took hold 
with a will, and the old schoolhouse l)egan to move again upon the 
rollers and made a lunge of twelve or fifteen feet, creaking and 
groaning as it went, as if conscious of the ignoble uses of trade to 
which it was destined, foi' the time came — my pen grows shaky as I 



188 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

write it — when it was used for liquor selling. Upon this last move 
of the old sehoolhouse eA'ei'v tongue seemed loosened, and all gave 
vent to their satisfaction in a wild shout or cheer, which rang 
tlirough the darkness and l)y its heartiness (so I was informed) 
quieted the fears of some of the ladies whose husbands had at the 
tap on the window so niA'steriously bounced out vt l)ed and left 
them without sa.ying a word. About this time, Mr. Morrill upon 
a \ote of two freeholders at an election held for the purpose of 
voting upon the (|uestion of building a new sehoolhouse, w'as 
building the stone structure for that purjjose back of the Nachusa 
hoiise. so the old building was sold and moved down onto the corner 
of Alain and Hennei)in streets, and was used for various purposes 
of tiade, and Hnally l»uiiic(l in the great hre on Main street in 
1859. •• 

Doctor Everett refei-s to the northwest corner of the streets, 
the (-(Uiier noAV occu])ied l)y W. E. Trein. 

Among the i)U]»ils tauglit by Miss Loveland were Miss Helen 
Williams, later AIi's. Ijemuel Mulkins; Miss Elizabeth and Master 
James Ayres, children of Oscar F. Ayres; F^'ank Dixon, son of 
John W. Dixon, and his little l)rother, Elijah. 

Dnring the years alread}' mentioned, the schools also were 
taught by Miss Elizabeth .lohnson, later Mi's. J. B. Xash, and a 
Miss ('urtis. sister of Mrs. Seavey of Palmyra. 

During the winter of 181o-4, the school was taught by Lorenzo 
AVood. one time ])robate jiulge. During that season the following, 
among others, attended: Miss Sybil ('. Van Arnam, later Mrs. 
Elias B. Stiles: Mi's. A. B. Whitney nf Franklin (ii'ove. as well as 
A. R. (Bandolph), who later became her husband. 

Detween the years 184(i and 18-19, the school was taught b,v a 
]\li-. ( 'ross and James Lunun. the former in the public school and 
later a jirixate school. The hands of ( h'oss were deformed by 
rhcnmatisni and as ;i hair-pulling ai'tist he was dreaded. His term 
in the public schools ended in 1817 when rauum's began. He too 
was a sti'ict disciplinarian and his severity created many com- 
plaints to the directors. Nevertheless, the school rose steadily. 

FTe was a dcxofed student nf natural history and he assisted 
Doctor Everett materially in making his splendid collection of 
botanical, geological and oruithologi<-al specimens. In 1819 
he removed Avest to Oregon. Several years later, a Dixon man 
tra\('liug to the coast songht out Lumm and found him in an 
hinnhle cabin, surrounded by hugs, birds and animals. Sul)se- 
(|ucntl\' he i-cnio\c(l the collection to ('alif(U'nia ;ind sold it for 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 189 

$30,000. Eroiii the year 1842 to 1849, O. F. Ayres aiul J. B. Nash, 
directors, l:)ore all the burdens im-ideiit to maiutaiuiug good schools 
in a new and somewhat negligent community. In 1848-9, a Mr. 
McKay succeeded Lumm. He was full of learning, but just as full 
of eccentricities, and though he had the knack of imparting knowl- 
edge, his period and his school was not a success. In a state of 
mental abstraction, he would lock the door and leave the children 
behind. Many times, too, he liad novel ways of pointing a moral 
and adorning a tale. 

One day a boy came to scliool wutli a cigar in his mouth. AicKay 
appropriated it and coolly smoked it in presence of the pujnls. 

In the year 1851, Col. Henry T. Noble began Ms duties as a 
teacher, at a salary of $40 per month. 

By this time the old sehoolhouse had been abandoned and the 
new stone building on the east side of Hennepin avenue was built 
on the lot now occupied by the blacksmith shop of A. J. Scriven and 
Son, between Second and Thii-d streets. 

The building was constructed loosely and heated at first from a 
fireplace. Imilt in the east end of it. At times the room was very 
cold. One lady recalls a da}^ when she froze her heel. But the 
school was a great success. Colonel Noble was the first teacher to 
bring the school into a S3^stematic business-like institution. 

During those years of 1851 and 1852, Noble established a 
primary department for the little children, one of whom was Henry 
D. Dement, and he selected from his older pupils, young ladies to 
teach them. One of these was Miss Jane Ann Herrick, subse- 
quently his wife : the other was Miss INIarie Sophie LaPorte, the 
writer 's mother. 

By tliis time the school had grown to such proportions that Miss 
LaPorte w^as compelled to teach her class in a room of the court- 
house. 

Other pupils there were Miss Mary M. Stevens, Miss Hannah 
Elizabeth Stevens, Ann Ophelia Porter (Mrs. F. A. Soule), Miss 
Noble, daughter of Silas Noble and later wife of Jerome Hollen- 
beck, and Miss Anna Eustace, later Mrs. B. F. Shaw. 

One laughable incident is related about little John Gilbraith 
who many times got his mother to winte an excuse to let him out at 
3 o'clock. One day his mother refused, and in a huff he went to 
ask J. B. Brooks to give it to him. Brooks being absent, Mr. P. M. 
Alexander undertook the job by writing these lines: "Here is a 
bov who needs a flogging, — and if you don't give it to him. T wdll." 



li'u HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

But (JuluiK'l Noble did not flog the boy. It afforded liim a good 
laugli aud it aftorded Johunie a useful lessou. 

lu 18512-3, Charles N. Levauway coutiuued the school iu the 
stone building. 

Iu 1853-1, Fredeiiek A. Soidc continued the school in the same 
building. 

In 1854, William Barge received from John Stevens, the 
wiiter's father, then school conuxiissioner, a certiflcate to teach and 
he continued the school until 1859. Under his splendid manage- 
ment the same became a graded school. For about the hrst half of 
his tirst year, the old stone Iniildiug was used; after that rooms 
were rented in the old '•Land Office Building," later demolished, 
but standing on the west side of Hennepin avenue, next to where 
the stone People's church stands noAV on the noi'thwest corner of 
Second street. 

Dixtm was enjoying a tremendous boom at this time and at 
times it was impossible to rent rooms. Under these ciroimistauces, 
after several i^ublie meetings had been held it was decided to build 
the "Union School Building" on the west side of Peoria avenue, 
where the home of Jason C. Ayres now stands, near the corner of 
Fifth street. This Ituilding was l)uilt iu L855 at an approximate cost 
of $6,000, and thr(»ugli Mr. Barge's untiring efforts Chase's patent 
school seats, the best then made, were installed and I)ixou enjoyed 
the proiid distinction of possessing the l^est eqiupped school rooms 
in Illinois. 

To Mr. Barge l)eh)ngs tlie honor of organizing the tirst graded 
schools in Lee count}'. 

School children had nudtiplied so I'apidly that l)oth rooms were 
filled quickly. 

In 1858, a high scIkioI de]iartment was established in the old 
Methodist chui'ch ]»uilding on Second street, opposite the court 
house and next the present Baptist chnrch. Of this high school 
A. H. Fitch was made principal. 

In 1859, James Gow was made princi]»al of the high school, and 
A. M. Cow was made su])eriutendcnt of seho()ls, then consisting of 
five dei»artuients. Tliese gentlemen worked together until the year 
1862, when Eli C. Smith was elected to fill l)oth of these offices. 
For a while rooms were rented, then the little frame l)uilding just 
north n{' file I"'niou school, aud iu the same lot, was ))uilt { in 1860) 
and used as a primary room. It was taught feu- years by Miss 
Swinbuni. Tlie grannnar school was installed in the basement. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY IDI 

under the high school, and one of its tirst teachers was Miss Sephic 
Garduer, hiter Mrs. E. 0. Smith. 

Al)out 1866, it lieeame necessary ti» make more nnnn lor tlic; 
increasing numhers of piqtils and the (dd Lutheran church was 
rented and three departments were installed there. 

In the year 1867, a vote Avas taken on the proposition to Iniild 
a new and adequate building. The vote in favor of it was ovei-- 
whelming. Two sites were proposed, one on l^lock 88, owned and 
backed by Col. John Dement, and one further eastwai'd on "the 
hill." muiiltered 102. The former won and today the three-story 
and basement brick Eli C. Smith school stands on block 88. The 
cost was .$30,000. A Mr. Randall, of Chicago, made the plans, and 
the contract for Iniildinu- was let to ^^^ F. Bushuell & Co. In 1868 
the building was begun and in September, 1869, school was opened 
in the new building. 

The school board during the construction of the biulding was 
composed of the following members : Henry D. Dement, James A. 
Hawley and David Welty. 

F"'or the year ending July 31, 1871, the Dixon schools consisted 
of ten grades, the primary, intermediate, grammar, and high 
schools. The course of study contemplated ten grades, one year 
to each until the high school was reached and four years for it. 

The teachers at that time were : High School — Principal, E. C. 
Smith ; assistant. Miss Abbie Purvis ; tirst grammar, room B, Miss 
S. V. (Jardner; second grannnar, room C, Miss H. E. Gardner; 
first intermediate, room D, Miss H. L. Brewer; second intermedi- 
ate, room E, Miss R. M. Mead : tirst primary, room F, Miss E. L. 
Babljitt ; second primary, room C, Miss Addie T. Welty ; third 
primary, room H, Mrs. M. A. Johnson, Fii'st ward primary, Miss 
A. Georgia Curtis ; Third ward primary, jNIiss E. K. Anderson. 

Following are the names of graduates since the adoption of a 
course of study down to and including 1880 : 

1864 — William H. Boardman, Clarence A. Howell, Rebecca 
Story and Madgie Brooks. 

1866 — W. Lafayette Davis, Shephard G. Patrick and Josephine 
Goble. 

1867 — Henry Brooks, Henry J. Stephens and Annette Siuion- 
son. 

1868 — Nathan McKenney, John Hine, Aclelia Himtley. Libliie 
Kimball. Mary Pickard. Mai'y Ste]»hens. Ella Williams. Eunna 
Williams. 

1870 — Lila Fargo. Hattie Barlow and Lizzie Gardnei'. 



192 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

1871 — lr\in Lewis, Heur}' L. Trimper, Eminet Julieu, tSopliia 
Barlow, Oiilla Drew, Mary Diinick, Ella Hatch, Mary T. Little, 
Ella J. Pratt, Jeunie Williams. 

The graduates for the year 1872 were Anna Fargo, Julia Gil- 
luau, Kate Jerome, Auua Murjjh}', llattie E. Davis, Estella 
Osborue, Alice Kerr aud Edward A. Morse. 

187o — Charles VauAruam, F'red L. Shaw, J. H. Edwards, 
Horace Fleck, Martiu Curtis, Carrie W. Eells, F'auuie Murphy and 
Eiuma Ayres. (This was the writer's class. He did not graduate. ) 

1875 — Abner Barluw, F^-ank Judd, Sharwood Strung, aud 
Herbert O. Smith. 

1876 — Cleorgia Herrick, Mary Bressuehan aud Lizzie Miller. 

1877 — Ida Strong, Dora Eaton and Harriet O. Sterling. 

1878 — George Yann, Charles Morey, George Bowles, F'annie 
Rosbrook, Enuua Gilbert, Idell Deland, Carrie Pratt and Cornelia 
Daley. 

1879 — Joseph Petersberger, William O. Sterling, John Crop- 
sey, Ed T. Smith, Matilda Weibezahn and Sophia Deland. 

1880 — Al Simonson, Jennie Flollenbeck, Homer A. Judd, and 
Cora B. Maxwell. 

Following is a summary of monthly reports made July 31, 1871 : 

Whole niunber children (if school age, 953 ; whole number pupils 
enrolled, 695 ; whole munber male teachers, 1 ; whole number 
female teachers, 10; highest salaiy paid male teacher, $1,500; 
highest salary paid female teacher, $500; average salary, $455; 
cost per jmpil for tuition, $13.25 ; entire cost per pupil, including 
contingent expenses, and interest on value of school property, 
$22.33; average number pupils belonging, per year, 465; average 
daily ntteudance, 429; i>er cent of attendance, 92; munber tardi- 
nesses, 1,:595; tdtal num))er days taught, 83,912. 

At the time the foi'cgoiiig rcjiort was made, James A. Hawley, 
John D. (h'a))tree and lieubeu O. Hall were directors. By reason 
of the fact that numbers of our citizens resided on the north side 
<ir t\\(' i'i\ci-, in North Dixon, it very soon became apparent that 
school facilities for tlic childi'cn on that side of the river must be 
furnished. So early as Dec. 7, 1854, I tind an item in the old Tele- 
gra])li to tlie effect that a schoolliouse had lieen built liy the citizens 
in the usual way, by subscription. 'I'his building stood, aud in fact 
is the present house of Amos Bosworth, facing Crawford avenue. 
Less tlian four years previous, N(U'th Dixon contained but three 
dwelling houses. At the time of which I write, there were seventy 
and seats had been provided in the new school building for one huu- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 193 

dred and thirty pupils. Before 1860 this school of two rooms had 
become crowded and another building for primary scholars had to 
be erected on the same lot on its north side. In these old schools, 
the names of the teachei'S, so far as 1 can remember, were Miss 
Campbell, who subsequently married Eugene Pinekney, Miss 
Blood; the lady Avho siibsequently became Mrs. John Y. Tliomas, 
Colonel ^^'ood, who was principal when the war liroke out, and 
John V. Thomas. Of course there Aveie others, Init not many. 

These schools in turn became croAvded and in the autunm of 
1868-9 a beautiful new two-story and mansard brick school was 
built, the one still used, and by the side of which still another has 
been built since. On Jan. 15, 1869, this new building was dedicated 
with imposing ceremonies. Richard Edward of the State Normal 
made the address. This building cost the district $20,000. When 
the schools were opened, the grade system was installed by the 
principal, John V. Thomas. Eollowing Mr. Thomas as a principal 
were, Mr. Hague in 1874; J. L. Hartwell in 1875; Julius Lloyd in 
1877 ; C. O. Scudder in the fall of 1878. 

1 have just found the names of the old superintendents of the 
North Side schools from the beginning: I. H. Williams, 1859; 
W. S. Wood, N. J. (Jilbert. J. A. Flagg and then in 1863, John V. 
Thomas followed and continued until 1874. 

While the eai-ly schools so far Avei'e denominated public schools, 
at fii'st they were of a |nivate nature, ])aid foi' liy private suljscrip- 
tion and suppoi'ted by tuition. Xevertheless they were not what 
is iniderstood to be private schools of which Dixon had many in its 
earlier history. 

As early as 1855, several enterprising gentlemen sought to give 
to Dixon the advantages of a first class educational institution. To 
that end on May 7, 1855, W. W. Harsha, a Presbyterian minister 
commenced the first term of the Dixon Collegiate Institute in the 
basement of the Lutheran Church then located on Crawford avenue 
between Third and Fourth streets. 

Following him as teachers in that institution were Eli C. Smith. 
Mrs. E. A. Smith, Mrs. C. L. Harsha and Miss Jennie L. Backus. 

On July 4, of the year 1855, after securing an endowment for 
the Dixon Collegiate Institute, of $25,000, the corner-stone was laid 
with imposing ceremonies. Subscriptions in money, apparatus and 
lands made by the citizens fif Dixon raised the sum to $37,000. 

B. F. Taylor of Cliicago made the principal addix'ss on the 
occasion. Jolm Stevens and otlicrs delivei cd addresses too on the 



I'Ji HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

oceasiou. iSTot very long ago I imeartbed the oue made hy John 
Stevens. 

In 1857 this institution was incorporated by a special act of the 
Legislature. But trctni one cause and auother the school did not 
jDi'ogTess as anticipated, and in 1858, the presbj^tery abandoned it. 

Its construction must have been slovv^ because on Aug. 27, 1857, 
when Prof. A. M. Gow took hold of it to reorganize it, but two 
stoi'ies and a Ijascment were all that were finished. 

On April 18, 1861, the building then completed was purchased 
b,y Rev. O. W. Cooley, of Wisconsin, for the purpose of establishing 
a female seminary in it. Just what he did, I am unable to learn ; 
but the next notice I find of it is Sept. 8, 1863, when S. G. Lathrop 
and M. McKendree Tooke, two Methodist ministers opened the 
Dixon Seminary. For a time this institiTtion under the manage- 
ment of these two gentlemen, flourished. Large numbers of pupils 
attended, especially from the farms. 

On Nov. 1, 1875, the name of the institution was changed to the 
Rock River ITniversit}' and O. G. May l^ecame president and M. M. 
Tooke became regent. 

But the public school by this time had been brought to such a 
degree of usefulness that in a small town the small jDrivate school 
could not compete with it and so after a long period of reverses, 
Mr. Tooke lost the property and title passed to George L. Schuler. 
After this the building stood empty for a long while and people who 
desired took up their residence in its rooms without molestation. 
But after awhile it became nunored that the old building had 
become unsafe and Mr. Schuler had it demolished. 

Architecturally it was a handsome biulding. Sitting on the 
bi'ow of a beautifid hill, it was the first building seen from afar. 
From the car -odndow, it presented a most picturesque appearance. 
Now the site is the bea\;tif ul Bluff Park in which so many ])eautif ul 
homes have been l)uilt. 

The last reference I find made to the old Rock River University 
is on the ending of the year 1880, where the building is spoken of as 
a five-story brick and stone edifice, on a high cuuneuce in the east 
part of town, and that the institution had practically settled down 
to a Preparatory and jNIilitary Academy, yet giving instruction in 
the Normal. Business, Musical and Art de])artments. 

I"'lic lioai'd of management and instruction were at that time, 
Jay R. Hinckley, ]>resident ; Maj. II. O. Chase, military instructor: 
W. IT. Chanibcrlain, business manager; Ileni-y INI. Douglas. Mrs. 
Jay R. 1 rinckley and Miss Lucy AVhiton, teachers. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 195 

On July 15, 1857, an attempt was made by Rev. J. W. Downing 
to establish a Female Seminary under the auspices of the Episcopal 
Church. A frame house just west of the Illinois Central depot was 
rented and the school was begun, but like the othei' efforts to estab- 
lish a private school the efforts of Mr. Downing failed and after a 
little while the school was closed never to resume. 

In 1880, I lind the schools summarized about as follows : The 
north side building already referred to is 54x63 feet, ground plan. 
Including basement it is four stories high. The first and second 
stories, each 13 feet high, are divided into two school rooms, 
25x38 feet, with a recitation room for each. The mansard roof is 
one large room for study 39x48 feet, 16 feet high, having a rostrum 
in the north end 10x12 feet, with an ante room entering upon it 
from either side. C. O. Scudder was then principal. In the differ- 
ent departments there were 180 pupils, not a heavy increase in 
twenty years. 

Miss Welty was the assistant principal; Miss A. Raymond 
taught the granmiar room ; Miss M. Yates taught the intermediate 
room and Mrs. A. C. IIoll)rook the primary room. 

On the south side in 1880 there were 459 pupils. E. C. Smith 
was principal and superintendent; Miss Emma Goodrich was 
assistant and taught high school with fifty pupils. The first gram- 
mar room was taught by Miss Adelia Pinckney with an attendance 
of twenty-seven pupils; Miss Nellie Soule taught second grammar 
with an attendance of thirty-four. 

The first intermediate was taught Ijy Miss Harriet O. Sterling 
with an attendance of fifty-six inipils; the second intermediate 
room was taught by Ida Deland with forty-five pupils ; the third 
intermediate was taught liy ^liss Emma Burnham with forty-nine 
pupils, and the fourth intermediate was taught l)y jNIiss Fannie 
Murphy, with fifty-seven pupils. The primary department was 
taught by Miss Amelia McComsey with fifty-one pupils. On Second 
street in the old Methodist Church school. Miss A. C Curtis taught 
primary department with forty-five -[lupils. West of the Central 
Depot on Se^'enth street INIi's. Ij. L. Woodworth taught a primary 
room with forty-seven pupils. 

The old Dement town school used bef(U'e this last named was 
built, was held in the lirick building on the corner immediately 
across the street, on the nortliwest eornei'. The first teacher I ran 
remember teaching there was a Miss Cunn. 

In later years, the Truman school in the west end of town and 
the big new high school Imilding have been l)uilt. 



196 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The Catholic Church began iii our midst a parochial school in 
the year 1872, by Rev. Father McDermott. At first it was con- 
ducted in the old church building, but later under the guidance of 
Father Foley it was enlarged and removed to the beautiful prop- 
erty where it stands now. 

In the year 1912, the buildings were visited by fire and they 
were all entirely destroyed. But as if by magic the.v have been 
very materially enlarged and now are caring for more pupils than 
ever. 



CHAPTER XIV 

EDUCATIONAL HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY SCHOOLS 
By Prof. L. W. Miller, Superintendent of Schools 

On This day of tlu' lia})}))' New Year. 1914, the compiler of this 
dcjiartnicid completes his work and sul)nnts his manuscript of the 
work attempted. 

A retrosi)('cti(in (d' the history of education within the horders 
of Lee county, Illinois, covers a period of about eighty years and 
records the evohition of a school system of marked efficiency. Prom 
the most meager and Inuiilih' (■(|nipnicnt in the homes of pioneer.s, 
through the period of the log or slab housing for pupils, to the 
matted floor of the real "Parlor School," with its standard equip- 
ment, aye, even further to the larger range of equipment to be 
foiuxl in our "Superior School." on the one side of our considera- 
tions, and the splendid edifices known as our city high school build- 
ings, on the other side — all have developed within the si)an of life 
accorded to many an individual living today. 

Progress has been the keynote of eft:"(trt, and the pursuit of 
ideals has ever been actuated l)y wortluness of motive, each year 
providing the very best that circumstances permitted — each 
improved condition being sc^cured by sacrifices commensurate with 
the ideals attained, and by the cooperative organization of the work 
of thousands of minds. ;uid the translation of dominant thought 
into action. Priceless indeed the heritage, to those who now have 
oiDportunities. that today stand a mute, unanswerable argument 
against the persistent assaults of destructive criticism. 

It is well that we pause on this eve of greater, and still gi'eater 
possibilities, and take inventory. Some of the early history of 
education in specific school imits has been felt secure in the writings 
of previous historians, and has given way f(U' more of the condi- 

1!)7 



198 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

tions permeating the scliool systems of the present day, and por- 
tions of certain specitie accounts liave been compiled b\' duplication. 

Doubtless, errors are here recorded, but conliicts of data have 
been presented, and revisions of date by specilic contributors liave 
been permitted. It is thought that, in the main, this series of 
records is correct. 

The hrst school (^ipeued within the Ijorders of Lee county was 
that conducted in Father Dixon's home at Dixon's Ferry, during 
the winter of 1833-34. The building was Ijegun by Joseph Ogee, a 
French-Indian half-breed and interpreter, who established a ferry 
at Dixon in the spring of 1828. Father Dixon purchased the feriy 
in 1830, and completed the house, which probably stood at the 
northwest corner of First street and Peoria avenue. John K. 
Robison was the first teacher, being succeeded by a Miss Butler of 
Bureau count3% and here the children of Father Dixon were 
instructed, others coming from outside homes, as the pioneer town 
grew. There is a record to tlie effect that the Dixon cliildreu 
attended school at Buffalo Grove, with the children of O. AV. 
Kellogg, during one wintei', and that the Kellogg children attended 
at Dixon during the following winter — an arrajigement made mu- 
tually advantageous by the heads of these households. 

In 1836 the last of the hostile tribes of Indians disappeared 
from Lee county, leaving the country open to settlement. While 
Dixon contained but four families at this time, the rapid increase 
in numbers warranted the erection of the first schoolhouse in 1837. 
This building was a one-story frame structure, 20x30 feet. It was 
erected by subscription and stood on lot L block 69, not far from 
the cemetery. It was moved, in 1839, to lot "), block 17, and was the 
general assembling place of the (then) ■\illage for a number of 
years. Llere school opened in the fall of 1837, H. Bicknell being 
the teacher, and enrolling about twenty-live pupils. Parents send- 
ing children to this school contril)uted tti its financial support — the 
custom of the day. 

In 1838 the fii'st schoolhouse in Brooklyn town was erected at 
Mehigin's Grove, near the old (Chicago stage road. Zachariah 
Melugin, the landloi'd of the village inn, became the fii'st teaclier. 

The organization of Lee county occurred in 1839, and E. R. 
Mason was the first county supei'intendent of schools — then known 
as school commissioner. Into his care was placed the organiza- 
tion of the crTide beginnings of our school system, and to the work 
of file ]n-ivate instnictoi' and the teachei' in the pioneer school w:is 
added the first attempts ;it ;i course of study, classificati(Mi. and 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 199 

general school equipment, his log cabin serving the twofold purpose 
of schoolliduse and tavern for a year preceding the erection of the 
school building. 

Further to the east, in Wyoming town, we lind a school build- 
ing known as "The Little Red Pole Schoolhouse," not over twelve 
feet square, and erected expressly for school purposes — perhaps 
in 1836. 

Thus do we lind the early beginnings of the establishment of 
schools — principally along the Indian trails and stage routes. 
These schools were all necessarily small, and were, in each case, 
established and maintained entirely by individual contributions, 
the public school system not having then been established. Thus 
are recorded the days of "boarding round" by teachers, who often 
received not to exceed $1.25 per week for their services, and of the 
time when it often occurred that some pupils were older than their 
teachers. 

The history of an old schoolhouse formerly located about a half 
mile southeast of the Gap Grove schoolhouse, is very obscure. The 
building is now a milkhouse on the Howard Martin farm. On 
the southwest corner of the farm now owned by Joseph Gooch, 
near the forks of the road, once stood a log house, which some claim 
as the true historic schoolhouse, the information indicating that 
fifty pupils were once enrolled here. In 1863 the old chui'ch at Gap 
Grove was transformed into a schoolhouse, situated on the site of 
the i:)resent school building at that place. Later this Iniilding was 
sold for $20, and converted into a l^arn on the old H. M. Gilbert 
homestead. The present school building at this point became its 
successor. 

At an early day an "advanced school'' was taught by a Mr. 
Judd, in a log schoolhouse near the John L. Lord homestead, to 
which many came f I'om a distance on horseback. In 1837 there was 
a schoolhouse at the Gap, neai'ly opposite the town hall. In 1838 
a small frame school building, which was never finished, in the 
center of Sugar Grove, was presided over for two winters l)y W. 
W. Bethea. 

In 1847 a frame schoolhouse was built on or near the site where 
in 1858 a brick church with basement for school purposes was 
erected. This old "frame" building may be seen on the Fletcher 
Seavey homestead. Thus it 'ndll be seen that these old landmarks 
are being preserved by this substantial comnmnity. who have 
erected a tablet along the public highway — a memorial to the first 
schoolhouse in Palmyra. 



200 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The building ei'ected iu 1858 was soon partial!}' rebuilt, to make 
it more substantial, only to be destroyed ))y tire later. 

The frame building replacing the one destroj^ed is used for 
church i^urposes, and its basement is perhaps the Ijest equipped 
one-room rural school building in Lee county, made so, largely, by 
the long period of superior service rendered to this school by its 
teacher, Mrs. (jertrude E. Russell, who taught twenty-one years 
consecutivel_y in this school, retiring at the end of the last school 
j^ear, 1913. Not oul_y one of the ablest and most efficient of Lee 
county's teachers, but one who commanded the highest salary, $70 
per month foi' nine schodl months, during the latter years of her 
incumbency. 

As early as 181-3, there was a blacksmith shop at Prairieville. 
while the village was located and platted in 1855. Here we find a 
two-story brick building erected at a cost of $3,000, some fifty 
years ago. A soldiers' monument, costing $900 and erected by vol- 
untary contributions, in 1869, stood on the beautiful school grounds 
here for many years, only to be removed h> tlie Palmyra cemetery 
at Sugar Grove several years ago. No other momunent to the 
memory of the soldier dead iu Lee county is known to the writer. 

The "Brick" selioolhouse in South Dixon, located three miles 
from Dixon, on the Chicago i-oad, is notable in that it was the cen- 
ter of great intellectual activity for many years. Built at an early 
date, E. B. Edson was its first teachei'. and at (me time its attend- 
ance reached 120. 

The first regular school in Willow Creek was started in one of 
Israel Shoudy's log houses in 1848. Martha Vandeventer was the 
first regular teacher, although others had preceded her in an irreg- 
ular way. In 1819 a frame school liuilding was erected by sub- 
scription, and while it was being completed, dwellings were used 
when the weather was too cold for the use of tlu' log cabin. The 
first ))oai'(l of examiners to i)ass upon the qualifications of teachers 
for this school, consisted of John Smith, in granunar and geogra- 
phy ; II. G. Ilowlett, in mathematics and reading: and John Colvill, 
in writing and spelling. 

In the summer of 1847 a stone selioolhouse was liuilt on Henne- 
pin avenue in the city of Dixon, on the site now occupied by Scriv- 
en's blacksmith shop. Henry T. Noble was one of the early teach- 
ers. In 1845 there were 149 persons imdei" twenty years of age in 
the district, and seventy-fiAc of these were enrolled iu the public 
and select schools. 

In 1854 the fii'st selioolhouse was liuilt in North Dixon. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 20i 

In 1855 the "Dixou Collegiate Institute" was opened in the 
basement of the Lutheran church, under the auspices of the Rock 
River Presbytery, under the care of Rev. W. W. Harsha. Later, 
in the same year, the corner-stone of the institute was laid, in what 
is now Bluft" Park. This school was endowed to the extent of 
$25,000, with generous contributions in grounds, etc., by Dixon 
citizens. By special act of the Legislature this institution was 
incorporated in 1857. The school being discontinued, it later 
became the home of different private schools, and finally gave way 
to residences. 

The Union schoolhouse was a two-story brick, located on the 
site of the J. C. Ayres residence on Peoria avenue. It was built 
in 1855 at a cost of $6,000, and was torn down in 1874. Here the 
old wooden desks were replaced by the more modern type of fur- 
nishings. 

In 1857 a female seminary was started under the auspices of the 
Episcopal church, and in 1861 a female seminary was established in 
the Collegiate Institute building. In 1858, a high school depart- 
ment was added to the course of study of the public schools. In 
1862 E. C. Smith became superintendent of schools. "Dixon Sem- 
inary" was opened in the Collegiate building in 1863. The Dement 
town school was built in 1866, and in 1868 the old building in North 
Dixon was erected at a cost of $20,000, and the next year the "Red 
Brick" building on the south side was built. The latter cost 
$30,000. A primary brick structure served a period of usefulness 
on the North Dixon side, it being erected at a cost of $1,000, and 
gave way in 1889 to the new high school building, completed the 
next year, just west, at a cost of $15,500. 

The "White Brick" school, on the south side, was completed in 
1887, at an initial cost of $5,500, it being enlarged and improved in 
1892 at a cost of $17,000. Several years ago this was destroyed by 
fire and the splendid new edifice known as the Central school 
became its successor. 

In 1902, a kindergarten was established in the North Dixon 
schools. It has been continued until the present time, and now 
enrolls seventy children, taught by three teachers. Manual train- 
ing was introduced into the south side schools during the same 
year — the same being maintained on an improved basis today. The 
Truman school in Morrill town, the west end of Dixon, cost $7,000, 
and was erected in West Dixon during the same year. 

This school was named in honor of Frederick A. Truman (now 
deceased), president of the board of education, and mayor of 



202 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Dixou for a lung period of years. Tlie Uemeut town school was 
named " \\ oodwoitii ^Selloo^' at tliis time, in honor of Airs. L. L. 
Woodworth who taught in the same room of this school for thirty- 
two years. At the same time the south side Red Brick school 
changed its name to E. (J. Smith school, in honor of its former 
superintendent. 

The Northern Illinois Normal School and Dixon Business 
College began its existence in the Seminary building in 1881, with 
John C. Tlint as jjresident and Jesse B. Dille as principal. 

These quarters were oc-cupied but one year, when, upon the 
completion of the new buildings in West Uixon, the permanent 
home of this prominent institution of learning was established. 
Scholarships to the extent of $20,000 were subscribed as an induce- 
ment to secure its location in this city, and the college building, 
prox^er, and the Ladies' Dormitoi'v were completed when iirst 
occupied. The Gentlemen's Dormitory was completed in 1888. 

This new school was jiopular from the very tirst and grew 
rapidly under its splendid business management until it registered 
nearl}'- twelve hundred students (1891 ), with a corps of instructors 
uum))ering about forty. Courses in preparatory, teachers, scientific 
classic, business, music, telegraphy, art, etc., were maintained, this 
institution drawing students from nearly every section of the 
United States, as well as from Canada, and enjoying merited 
popularity as the leading educational center of northern Illinois. 
This school is today the property of Prof. I. F. Edwards, who for 
sixteen years occupied the position of county superintendent of 
schools of Lee county, and is still in o])eration, with an encouraging 
attendance. 

Steinmann College began its existence in 1882, luidcr the direc- 
tion of Charles A. Steinmann, who conducted the school success- 
fully for a innnlier of years. It is located on a beautiful elevation 
on the banks of Rock liver adjoining Assembly Park, on the north. 
Maj. F. B. Floyd now conducts a military school here, with most 
gratifying results. 

Coppins' Commercial College is located in tlie heart of the city, 
and, under the skilled management of W. H. Cop])ius, this school 
ministers to the needs of those desiring work in its lines. 

St. iNlary's Parochial School was founded in 1897. Its location 
is in lilocl< 7. on Peoria avenu(\ <>n a ]>lat <tf ground 200 hv 300 feet, 
the same ha\iug once been a portion of the estate of G. L. Schuler. 
The course includes primary and gi'ammar grades and the teachers 
are Sisters of the D(miinican Order. The home of this order is at 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 203 

KSiusiuawa Moimd, Wiscousiu. This scliool is prosperous, aud lias 
a strung attendance. Worii of au excellent order is done. 

The folloAviug history of the Lee Center Academy is from the 
pen of Mr. ISherman L. iShaw, whose abilities and residence in this 
village qualify him as the logical authority for his contribution : 

During the period between the years of 1850 to 18b(J, one of the 
best J^nown schools in this section of the state was the Lee Center 
Academy. 

The location being on one of the best known and most traveled 
east aud west stage roads in northern Illinois, made it easy of 
access from all points. There were students in attendance from 
Rockford and Mount Morris, towns that had academies, as well as 
from other towns aud even from outside the borders of the state. 

The academy at one time employed four instructors and had an 
enrollment of about two hundred. 

The jDeople were fortunate in securing some very able instruct- 
ors during the early days of the school. The one man among all 
the list that is given most credit for building up the school was 
Simeon Wright, who afterward became state superintendent of 
schools. 

The village of Lee Centei- was laid out in 1846. 
Roswell C. Streeter, father of Allison J. Streeter who gained 
prominence in the Clroenback party and in the Grange, donated 
the location for the academy. 

About the years 1847 and 1848 a two-story brick building was 
erected. Seliool opened in the fall of 1848. 

The first teacher was Hiram ]\IeChesney from Troy, New 
York. His days of usefulness were few. 

During a noon hour one of the pupils wrote a note and dropped 
it where it could lie f ou.nd by the teacher. ^IcChesney was offended 
by the contents of the note. One of the older bo_ys, an innocent 
party, was accused of writing the note. His denial angered 
McChesney. who attempted to administer punishment in the good 
old-fashioned way. The young man, however, secured a handful 
of the teacher's whiskers, separated him from some of his raiment, 
and on the whole had rather the best of the argument. Tlie affair 
created so much feeling that the teacher did not finish his term. ■ 
Following McChesney came H. C. Tjeonard. wlio with his wife 
and her sister lived and kept house in the upper rooms of the schfiol 
building. 

The attendance increased until it was necessaiy to build a stair- 
wav on the outside of the building to make more room. 



204 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

It was duriug the time that ISimeon Wiight had charge of the 
school that the building of the stone part was agitated and as the 
result of his energy and work it was built. 

lu addition to the primary and common school branches the 
curriculum included courses in the sciences, languages, and music. 

Henry C. Nash, j)robably the most popular and best loved of 
any of the teachers, died before his term of school had ended. His 
widow taught in the primary department for three or four years 
after his death. 

Mr. Nash was succeeded by Professor Monroe. One of the old 
students writes : "Professor Monroe was a genius in certain ways ; 
a brother was principal at the East Paw Paw Seminary in those 
days, and occasionally visited the Lee Center Academy, his coming 
being in the nature of a high class entertainment. The two brothers 
were devout worshipers of Sir Walter Scott and could spout the 
Lady of the I^ake by the hour. Apparently they had at their 
tongue's end every dialogue and recitation to be derived from the 
voluminous writings of tlie Scot, and when they foregathered and 
unlimbered we were not obsessed pro tempore with the idea of any- 
thing but a classical education, the stimulus for the same being 
furnished without stint until the close of the session for the day. 
It was customary at the close of the winter session of the school to 
have an 'Exhibition,' and the one which signalized the end of 
Professor Monroe's winter term was the limit. The various depart- 
ments of the school entering into the preparation with unusual 
interest, the result being a program of more than two hours, 
delivered to an audience that crowded to repletion the lower room 
of the old stone building. 

The next principal, Professor Springstead, was a minister, who 
did not believe it necessary to indulge in mild theatricals, and 
before another exhibition was given by the school, the war tocsin 
had sounded and many of the older students had marched away to 
the "music of the fife and drum." 

Among the other teachers were Reverend Barrett, Rev. James 
Brewer. Joshua T. Reade, E. W. Newton, C. L. Nettleton, Miss 
Lottie Kellogg, teacher of music; Misses Sarah and Minerva 
Loomis. Misses Carrie and Lottie Whitcomb, Miss Spaulding, Miss 
Mary A. Wright (Mrs. C. F. Lynn). Miss Sei'aphine Gardner 
(Mrs. E. C. Smith), Miss Harriette Hatch (Mrs. Dr. Frank 
Gardner). Miss Katie Franklin (Mrs. E. W. Nevrton), and a num- 
ber of others. 



/• 










THE OLD LEE CENTER ArADE:\tY 
One of Leo Oouiitv's fiinioiis luiildinys 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 205 

By a special act of the State Legislature, approved Feb. 21, 
1859, the Lee Center Uuion Graded School aud Union District 
No. 1 was incorporated. The first election under this act was held 
Oct. 3, 1859, and Dr. Charles Gardner, Lyman C. Wheat and 
L. Cyrenus Sawyer were elected to serve as directors. 

The old building was condemned and demolished in 1909 and a 
two-story, four-room brick structure was erected on the old site. 

The following is copied from a circular pasted in the record 
book of the district : 

LEE CENTRE ACADEMY 

This institution is now ready to receive pupils in the different 
departments of study. Thorough teaching in common English 
branches will be secured, while pi'ovision is also made for instruc- 
tion in the higher branches of an English education, including the 
Natural Sciences, and Latin and Greek. 

Yoimg men intending to fit themselves for admission to our 
colleges. Eastern or Western, will find here good advantages for 
accomplishing their object. Young persons wishing to qualify 
themselves for teaching, will i-eceive particular attention. 

To persons at a distance, not acquainted with our school we 
state that it is situated in the center of Lee county, Illinois, in the 
midst of a moral and well-educated rural population. Its distance 
from Amboy on the Illinois Central Railroad, is four miles, and 
from Franklin on the Dixon Airline, seven miles. 

Calendar for 1861-1862: 

Fall term, September 2 - November 8, 10 weeks. 

Vacation one week. 

Winter term, November 18 - March 21, 18 weeks. ^ 

Vacation of two weeks. 

Summer term, April 17 - July 3, 13 weeks. 

The rates of tuition per qr^arter of ten weeks, will be as follows : 

For Common English studies, $3.00. 

For 1 Higher English study, $1.50. 

For 2 Higher English studies, $2.50. 

For 3 Higher English studies, $3.00. 

For Latin or Greek, or both, $3.00. 

For Latin, Greek and Higher English. $4.00. 

All tuition is to be paid within one week from time of entrance. 

Arrangements can be made for Piano Forte instruction. 

Persons wishing to open correspondence may address Josiah T. 



206 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Reade, principal, L. C. Wlieat, Esq., Dr. Charles Gardner or Sabin 
Trowbridge, Esq. 
; Lee Centre, Illinois, August, 1861. 



tSuon after the village of Harmon was platted in 1872, a school- 
house was built on the present site ; a larger frame building suc- 
ceeded this one, which was burned in 1899. In 1900 the present 
brick structure was erected with three departments. Ten grades of 
work are offered here. 

The history of education in Sul)lette town dates back to an early- 
day, when Thomas Eessenden's log house was used for this 
purpose. A slab building on the Thomas Tourtillott place was 
next used. This structure, later known as the "Sheep Pen," was 
early used as a shelter for those pre-empting land in this section. 
Maria Coleman tirst taught liere. Following this Joseph Carey 
taught in Mrs. Tourtillott 's house, and in about 1850 John Bacon 
taught in Mrs. Richardson's house. In 1844 a third school in the 
township was established, tliis school offering opportunities for 
advanced work. In 1847 a school was held in a "lean-to" along the 
side of the log house of Daniel Pratt. In 1848 a school was opened 
at Knox Crove, along the stage road. This log building extended 
the course of study somewliat furtlier, and drew pupils from a 
much greater distance. The village school at Sublette, containing 
two departments, has been in use for a long period of years, and 
off'ers eight grades of work. 

In the village of Paw Paw, a two-story building received an 
addition of similar size in ]883, all being consumed by fire in 1884. 
In its stead a two-story brick building was erected, and in 1897 
this too was consumed by tire. In 1897 the present structure was 
com])lcted, at a cost of $15,000. This building is modern, and the 
course of study offers twelve grades of work. This school is on 
the "accredited list," and teaches manual training, and sewing. 

The first schoolhouse in Steward was erected in 1882, and cost 
$3,000. Fire destroyed this liuilding in 1903. and the present struc- 
ture, costing $7,000, succeeded it. There are four flourishing 
de])artments here, offering ten grades of work. 

The early schools of Anil)oy wer(^ at Rocky Ford and Bing- 
hamton. The Iniilding at Rocky Ford is still in existence, and is 
used for school purposes, while that first erected in the Bin*»'- 
hamton district has been removed. This building stood in t> 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 207 

center of section 11, on the northwest corner of the crossroads. In 
this building Reverend Ingersoll (fatlier of Col. Robert U. Inger- 
soll) often preaclied, and Robert often accompanied liiui. In 
Amboy city the tirst school building was built in 1857. in 18G-1- the 
frame building in Gilson's addition was completed. Followiug this 
the old Methodist church was purchased, and in 1868 the two-story 
brick on the west side was added to the system. In 189(J a modern 
building was erected at a cost of about fifteen thousand dollars. 
Some two or three years ago the "East Frame" building was 
entirely remodeled and modernized. Twelve grades of work are 
offered here, besides domestic science, manual training, etc. 

Ashton's new $35,000 brick scliool building is the finest of its 
class in Lee comity. This building, just completed, is now being 
occupied for the fii'st time, and replaces the three-story building 
.so long the school home in this city. Twelve years of woi'k are 
given in this school. 

The schools of Bradford town, wliilc all inral. have made strong 
advances in their standards of physical equipment and efficiency. 
A traveler who called at one of these si'hools called at the county 
superintendent's office recently, aud inijinred relative to that 
"Parlor School, the tiuest one-room couutiy school 1 ha\-(' seen iu 
Illinois." The salesman's reference was to tin- Weishaar School. 
District No. 89, Miss Clara C. Waguer, teacher. The writer uot<"s, 
in passing, that the contrast between the crude equipment of the 
log cabin school and such as this t^q^e presents, marks a distinct 
epoch in the evolution of the rural school. 

The schoolhouse at West Brooklyn is a two-story frame build- 
ing that has served for a number of years as a school home for the 
children of this village. There are three departments and ten years 
of work are completed. 

Franklin Urove's first and only frame school building was built 
in 1856, and enlarged in 1S67. In 1894 the present building of 
stone and brick replaced the former one, at a cost of $9,000. Twelve 
years of work are here accomplished in the four departments, with 
added classrooms. 

Nachusa's first school is the present one, built in 1868. There is 
a good enr(-»llment here, and the eight grades of work are taught by 
one teacher. 

The schools at Nelson and Eklena are similar to those at 
Nachusa. and the schools of Reynolds and Viola towns rank high in 
profieienc5% ^^^ being rural. 



208 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Compton accommodates her pupils in a three-room, two-story 
frame building, the successor of the one-room school that stood 
some twenty years ago in the west part of the village, the school 
made famous by the suj^erior work of one of its instructors, Will 
Farrand, a brother of Judge R. IS. Farrand of the circuit bench. 

A parochial school of two rooms at Sublette, a German Evan- 
gelical school of one room in Brooklyn town, and a Norwegian 
school in Willow Greek complete the general review of the educa- 
tional past. Elsewhere in the county, not mentioned above, the 
same general evolution of the school system obtains. 

Tlie following is a list of the schools of Lee county to date, with 
the name of the present (Jan. 1, 1914) teacher appended: 

Palmyra 

Mound School, District No. 1, Bertha W. Herrmann; Sugar 
Grove, District No. 2, Anza Lawton; Wild Cat, District No. 3, 
Jennie Bloomdahl; Gap Grove, District No. 4, Rae L. Roberts; 
Prairieville, District No. 200, Amos E. Kreider ; Oak Forest, Dis- 
trict No. 5, William Laudis; Wolverine, District No. 163, Estella 
M. Levan. 

Nelson 

Hill, District No. 6, Flelen Clark ; Cook, District No. 7, Marie 
Southwell; Nelson, District No. 8, Hazel E. Donagh; Walker. 
District No. 9, Johanna McKune ; King, District No. 10, Hazel N. 
Webber. 

Harmon 

Kimball, District No. 11, Julia Bi'adley; Harmon, District No. 
12, H. C. Eissner, Julia Bradley, Harriet Sheap ; Maunion, District 
No. 13, Helen Talty; Lake, District No. 14, Emma McCormick; 
Carbaugh, District No. 15, Maud R. Keefer ; Lyons, District No. 17, 
Maynie Simpson. 

HtimAlton 

McKeel. District No. Ki, Julia Callahan; Merchant, District 
No. 18, Lucie M. Power; White Chapel, District No. 19, Vera 
Foley; Keigwin, District No. 212, Ellen T. Philips; Pope, District 
No. 20, Mildred Larkin. 

Dixon 

Hazelwood School, District No. 206, Mary E. Murphy; Bend, 
District No. 22, Dora I. Breed ; North Dixon, District No. 23, H. O. 
Baldwin, superintendent, Lebbens Woods, principal high scliool. 
Helen Brown, Ella Pratt, Lora Normington, Caroline Pratt, 
Martha Waite, Muriel P. Phelps, Bertha Brass, Geila E. Hill, Ella 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 209 

B. Kentner, Einma P. Kentner, Emma Carpenter, Katherine Hen- 
nessey, Jennie Oakes, Ethel Leake, M. Mae Ruef, Olive Anderson, 
Gladys Steel, Myrtle Honey, Janette Gebhardt; Briertou, District 
No. 24, Anna Llennessey ; White Oak, I )istrict No. 25, Agnes Con- 
ley; Garrison, District No. 26, Edith Miller. 

Soutli Dixon 
Dixon, District No. 27, W. R. Snyder, superintendent, C. XL 
Anderson, principal high school, C. D. Boober, Fre3'a Forester, 
I. E. Young, May Downing, Marie J. Ross, Gladys Gaylord, Leslie 
Homerich, W. H. Coppins, Mary L. Gantz, Mary W. Reynolds, 
Retta B. Slothower, Hazel Kenneth, Olive Shaklin, Clara Hossel- 
berg, Caroline Slothower, Anna M. Fogarty, Bess Rowley, 
Lauretta Reynolds, Agnes R. Tague, Mary A. Erwin, Margaret M. 
Clark, Florence Mulkins, Elnia iM-b, Muriel P. Plielps, Hazel E. 
Todd, Florence Mason, Anna Wiggins, Bess Pankhurst; Burket, 
District No. 28, Esther Young; Preston, District No. 29, Mary 
Tourtillott ; White Temple, District No. 30, Dolly Fauth ; Lievan, 
District No. 31, Minnie Tourtillott ; Brick, District No. 32, Mildred 
Knight; Kelley, District No. 33, Feme Manning; Duis, District 
No. 34, Vera Lynch; Meese, District No. 35, Marguerite Reynolds; 
Eldena, District No. 36, Mary Ij. Hogan. 

Marion 

Stott School, District No. 37, Alice Ackert; Leonard, District 
No. 38. Tdabell ^IcDermott; O'Malley, District No. 39, Lena Kray- 
ser ; McCaffrey, District No. 40, Nellie Ryan ; Palmer, District No. 
41, Anna Welty; Keefer, District No. 42, Earl Anglemier; Mor- 
rissey, District No. 43, Marea McKune; Welty, District No. 44, 
Julia Brechon. 

East Grove 

Fleming, District No. 45, Amy Hanson ; Murphy, District No. 
46, Frances Downey; Hubble, District No. 47, Mary McFadden; 
Daven, District No. 48, Alice Sullivan ; Armstrong, District No. 49, 
Eva Larkin; O'Neil, District No. 50, Rhea Evans; Downey, Dis- 
trict No. 51, Anna Dulin ; Black Oak, District No. 21, Charlotte 
McCann. 

North China and Nachusa 

March, District No. 52. Ruth Scheffler ; Hillside, District No. 53, 
Emma Sehulz; Sunday, District No. 208, Clara P. Bush; Pine- 
view, District No. 54, Hazel B. Hartzell. 

South China and Nachusa 
Nachusa, District No. 55, Pearle Feldkerchner ; Emmert, Dis- 
trict No. 56, Lida Norris ; Hansen, District No. 57, Maude Conlon; 



210 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Franklin Grove, District No. 58, H. G. Anderson superintendent, 
E. G. Weaver, Ethel Holmgren, Florence Wollensak, Frances 
Vaughan, Beryl Skinner; Collins Dysart, District No. 59, Otie 
Sleacy ; Graves, District No. (iO, Clara Ivlapprodt; Samuel Dysart 
School, District No. Gl, xMyrtle Hain ; Hollister, District No. 62, 
Genevieve Cheadle; Temperance Hill, District No. 63, Myrtle 
Ackerman ; Seebach, District No. 64, Agnes Willard. 

A-mhoy 
Maine, District No. Qy>, Ethel Shoemaker ; Union Corners, Dis- 
trict No. 66, Lila Miller; Mynai'd, District No. 67, Winifred Mc- 
Cracken; Amb(ty, District No. Q^, O. M. Eastman, superintendent, 
Ruth Keefer, Launa Robinson, Edna Washbui'ii, Leota D. Brown, 
Myrtle Kenney, Jennie Carroll. Josie Keho, Margai'et Hammond, 
Lena Scrautou, Catherine Clark; Biugiiamtou, District No. 69. 
Ruby Leavens; Green, District No. 70, Rose McCaffrey; Shel))urn, 
District No. 7L Theresa L. Ronrke; Smith, District' No. 72, (no 
teacher); Holcomb, District No. 73, Elizabeth Kennedy; Elliott, 
District No. 74, Ella Huueycutt. 

Maijto icn 
Avery, District No. 75. Anna Harvey; Hall, District No. 76, 
Mary Langley ; Loan, District No. 77, Frances McFadden ; Dt)rsey, 
District No. 78, Neva Adams; Fitzpatrick, District No. 79, Mae 
McGovern ; Goy, District No. 80, Nettie Hannan. 

A slit on 
Sanders Seliool. District No. 81, Oi'a Griffith; Ashton School. 
District No. 82, Jolui S. Noffsinger, superintendent, Eva Noelch, 
Florence Allen, John Alislier, Minnie Schade, Pearl Billmire, Lena 
Bode; Di'ummond, District No. 209, Mai'guerite Roesler; Fell. 
District No. 83, Ada Kersten. 

B I'd df (>)■(] 
Mong, District No. 84, Edith Stephens; Killmer, District No. 
85, Minnie King; Wagner, District No. 86, Chloe Hudson; Hart, 
District No. 87, Alice Helmershausen ; Eisenberg, District No. 88, 
Tena Steidian; Weishaar. District No. 89, Clara C. Wagner; 
Harck. District No. 90, Emma Simpson; Welhuan. District No. 
91, Nellie Burns; Ventler. District No. 94, Edna Nattress. 

TjCc Center 
Lee Center. District N(.. 92, Elfrieda Stimaker. Emily Wil- 
liams. Grace Starks; Tulet, District No. 93. Mattie Perrv; Ford. 
District No. 95, Edward Morrissey ; Shaws, District No. 96, Gladys 
Smith; Wedlock, District No. 97, Anna Hayes; Tugalls, District 
No. 98, Mae Broeffle; Black, District No. 99, Mae Tiffany. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 2ii 

Suhlctte 
Gentry School, District No. lOU, Hermina Hecker; Ingalls, Dis- 
trict No. 101, (uo school) ; Clink, District No. 102, Carolyn Kueh- 
na ; tSublette, District No. 103, Lulu B. Long, Verna Wood ; 
Austin, District No. 101. Clara Erbes; Ellsworth, District No. 105, 
Irene Hai-vey; Angier, District No. 106, Henrietta Erbes; Reis, 
District No. 107, Marie Koesler; Bartlett, District No. 108, Mar- 
jorie Snider; Henkel, District No. 109, Lydia E. Steder. 

Clooch, Distiict No. 110. Estella Krug; Menz, District No. 210, 
Marguerite Donagh; Hawkins, District No. Ill, Iva Maley; Sul- 
livan, District No. 112, Lucilc Tayloi'; Weiner, District No. 113, 
Blanche Gale; Stone Ridge, District No. 114, Anna O'Rorke; Mil- 
ler, District No. 115, Matilda PtVtzing: Salznian. District No. 116, 
Eva Walter. 

Yiola 

Dunton, District No. 117, Blanche McDougall; Van Patten, 
District No. lis. Hazel Titus; Ross, District No. 119, Katln-yn 
Long; Bernardin, District No. 120, Bertha Montavon ; Webber, 
District No. 121, Ma^anie Tullis; Van Campen, District No. 122, 
Eva Holdren; Adrian, District No. 123, Ruth Yocum; Fairview, 
District No. 164, Gladys Fairchild. 

BrooMfj)) 

West Brooklyn School, District No. 124, Francis Morrissey, 
Jennie Hammond, Anna McCormick: Melugin Grove. District No. 
125, Winnie Abell; Davison, District No. 126. Louise Grandjean; 
Carnahan, District No. 127, Annie Bernardin ; Conipton, District 
No. 128, R. J. Claypool, Libbie B. Parker, Nellie Oderkirk; Bauer, 
District No. 129. "c. F. Marshall: Tvestler, Disti'ict No. 130, Celia 
Byrne; Foulk, District No. 131, Emma Swope; Politsch, District 
No. 132, Frances Craigmiles. 

Alto 

Carey, District No. 133, Marguerite E. Kirby: Thorpe, District 
No. 134, Clara Ekanger; Finnestad, District No. 135, Ida Larson: 
Steward, District No. 136, F. D. Chadwiek, Nellie M. Bowles, Belle 
Houston. Clara Trottnow; Peterson, District No. 137. Mabel 
Rosenkrans; Grimes, District No. 138, Genevieve Tally; Bly, Dis- 
trict No. 139, Pearl Andes. 

Willoir Creek 

Twin Grove, District No. 140, Eunice Fisher; Byrd, District 
No. 141, Hazel Yetter; Risetter, District No. 142, Julia Schoen- 
holz ; Hilleson, District No. 143, Lena Warner ; Miller, District No. 



212 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

144, Ruby Cradduck ; MofPatt, District No. 145, Emma Kirby ; Lee, 
District No. 148, R. O. Warburg. L. Maude Reynolds; Hewlett, 
District No. 154, R. Nellie Knight. 

Wyoiiiing 
Beemerville School, District No. 146, Maude Riley; Jonesvillc 
School, District No. 147, Mae C. Pierce ; Pawpaw School, District 
No. 149, W. 0. Suft, Mrs. W. C. Suft, Elizabeth Turner, Gertie B. 
Smith, Erma Lowery, Avis Adams, Esther Hatz; Ralley School, 
District No. 150, Henrietta Pulver ; Cottage Hill, District No. 151, 
Cinnie Guffin; Bridge, District No. 152, Lucy Burnette; Cyclone, 
District No. 153, Alice Lynch; South Paw Paw, District No. 161, 
Margaret Ball. 

Following is a list of the county superintendents of schools in 
Lee county from the time this office was created to the present 
time: 

County Superintcudcnts of Schools 
(First known as School Commissioner) 

E. R. Mason, 1839-1840 ; Joseph T. Little, 1840-1843 ; Daniel B. 
McKenney, 1843-1846; Lorenzo Wood, 1846-1850; John V. Eus- 
tace, 1850-1853; John Stevens, 1853-1855; S. Wright, 1855-1857; 
James A. Hawley, 1857-1859; John Monroe, 1859-1861; W. H. 
Gardner, 1861-1863 ; B. F. Atherton, 1863-1865 ; James H. Pres- 
ton, 1865-1873 ; Daniel Carey, 1873-1876 ; James H. Preston, 1876- 
1880; Samuel J. Howe, 1880-1886; P. M. James, 1886-1890; Jay 
C. Edwards, 1890-1894; L P. Edwards, 1894-1910; L. W. Miller, 
1910, i)resent incumbent. 

The matter of improvement of school conditions generally has, 
for a number of years, been given careful attention. Under vary- 
ing forms of specific requirement, state diplomas have been issued 
to such schools as met certain requirements. On Jan. 1, 1910, sixty- 
seven Lee county schools had received state diplomas. Following 
is the list of such schools, which includes rural, village and high 
schools : 

District No. 1, Mound; District No. 2, Sugar Grove; District 
No. 3, Wild Cat; District No. 4, Gap Grove; District No. 200, 
Prairieville ; District No. 5, Oak Forest ; District No. 6, Hill ; Dis- 
trict No. 7, Cook; District No. 8, Nelson; District No. 9, Walker; 
District No. 10, King; District No. 11, Kimball; District No. 12, 
Harmon; District No. 15, Carbaiigh; District No. 16, McKeel; 
District No. 17, Lyons; District No. 19, White Chapel; District 
No. 22, Bend ; Disti'ict No. 25, White Oak ; District No. 28, Burket; 
District No. 30, White Temple ; District No. 31, Lievan ; District 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 213 

No. 32, Brick; District No. 36, Eldeua; District Nu. 52, March; 
District No. 53, Hillside; District No. 5i, Piueview; District No. 
55, Nacliusa; District No. 56, Emniert; District No. 59, Collins 
Dysart ; District No. 60, Graves ; District No. 61, ISainuel Dysart ; 
District No. 62, Hollister; District No. 80, Gay; District No. 81, 
Sanders; District No. 84, Dierdorf; District No. 86, Wjiguer; 
District No. 87, Hart; District No. 90, Harck; District No. 96, 
Sliaws ; District No. 98, lugalls ; District No. 100, Gentry ; District 
No. 104, Austin; District No. 105, Sublette; District No. 106, 
Angler ; District No. 113, Weiner ; District No. 114, Stune Ridge ; 
District No. 115, Miller ; District No. 116, Salzmau ; District No. 
117, Dunton; District No. 118, Van Patten; District No. 120, 
Bernardin; District No. 121, Webber; District No. 124, West 
Brooklyn ; District No. 141, Byrd ; District No. 142, Risetter ; Dis- 
trict No. 148, Lee ; District No. 149, Paw Paw ; District No. 161, 
South Paw Paw ; District No. 64, Seebach ; District No. 88, Eisen- 
berg; District No. 89, Weishaar; District No. 91, Welhnan; Dis- 
trict No. 33, Kelley; District No. 136, Steward; District No. 29, 
Preston. 

Plans for the reorganization of the standards of schools, and 
for classification of different types of the same, materialized about 
the year 1908. These revised plans provided for standard one- 
room schools, superior one-room schools, and standard graded 
schools, a diploma and door-plate being issued in each case. The 
new requirements for the standard one-room schools included 
special consideration of seat sizes and seat arrangement, heating 
and ventilating, and a general advance in school equipment and 
paraphernalia. The prerequisite conditions were first established 
by a personal inspection of a number of schools by a state inspector 
of schools who visited such schools in company with the county 
superintendent of schools, and met the directors of such schools at 
the schoolhouse for special conference. This occurred in 1911. 
since which time the recommendations of the county superinten- 
dent have been accepted by the state superintendent on Jan. 1, 
1914, the following one-room schools, foiiy- three in numlier, have 
complied with the added requirements, and have received the new 
diploma with the designating door]ilate, which has the words 
"Standard School" set in gold color upon a black background : 

District No. 8, Nelson; District No. 2, Sugar Grove; District 
No. 3, Wild Cat ; District No. 32, Brick ; Dist]-ict No. 140. Scarboro ; 
District No. 54, Pine^dew ; District No. 61, Samuel Dysart ; District 
No. 161, South Paw Paw; District No. 10, King; District No. 25, 



214 * HISTOKY OF LEE COUNTY 

Wiiite Oak; District No. 42, Kecfer; District No. 142, Risetter; 
District No. 2U8, tSuiiday; District No. 113, Weiuer; District No. 
29, Piestou; District No. 89, Weisliaar; District No. 96, Siiaws; 
Distiict i\o. 7, Cook; District No. 9U, Harck; District No. 9, 
Walker; District No. 121, Webber; District No. 1, Mound; District 
No. DO, Ivelley; District No. 97, Wedlock; District No. 30, White 
Tempie; District No. 147, Jouesville; District No. 145, MoHatt; 
District No. 31, Lievau; District No. 88, Eisenberg; District No. 
143, Hillesou ; District No. 163, Wolverine ; District No. 141, Byrd; 
District No. 91, Welhuan; District No. 209, Drummoud; District 
No. 93, Inlet ; District No. 36, Eldena ; District No. 14, Lake ; Dis- 
trict No. 11, Ivimball; District No. 118, Van Patten; District No. 
84, Mong ; District No. 87, Harck ; District No. 86, Wagner ; Dis- 
trict No. 20, Pope ; District No. 122, Van Canipen ; District No. 60, 
Graves. 

Twelve schools are nearly ready to enter this list, and will in 
all probability, be so registered before the close of the present 
school year. Additional to this there is a long list of those who 
have made the start, they having installed new seats, and provided 
imi^i'oved physical ecjuipment, at a cost of hundreds of dollars. 
Verily the rural school is coming more nearly into its very own, and 
improved conditions are indicating in an immistakable manner the 
progressive sentiment that today permeates every avenue of life's 
activities. 

The "Superior School" diploma is issued for modern architec- 
tiire, and for genei'al I'eqnircments far in excess of those indicated 
for "Standard Schools,'' it being the intention to make such 
schools models for the guidance of new structures to be Iniilt in the 
days to come. This diploma is issued upon personal inspection of 
the state inspector, only. 

In I'eceiviug fi'om the state educational department, the third 
di]doma to bo issued in the great State of Illinois, for perfection 
of physical equipment as exem])lified in a school building, and 
proficiency in legular school work. Lee county regards with j)ride 
the new "Suiierior School" at Searboro. 

The liouor shown its directors in sending from Springfield a 
re]v,cs('ntative from the state superiutondent's office to deliver a 
di])loma and a door^dato is an hon(n' quite unusual. 

It was through the tireless energy, and thi^ beautiful philan- 
thropic sjurit of Miss Ida M. Durin. of Searboro, daughter of one 
of Lee county's foremost pioueei's. that the idealization of tills 
splendid type of school architecture became possible. 



HISTORY OF LEE COliNTY 215 

In the summer of 1911, Miss Uurin uutitied the county superin- 
tendent of schools that she would contribute one-half of the cost of 
a new'modei n schoolhouse, provided the school district would raise 
the other one-half of the cost, and proceed at once with the erection 
of the building. 

This proposition was accepted, and the district's portion of 
funds was also made inamediately available, by the purchase of the 
district bonds at a low rate of interest by Miss Durin. 

Plans f(_>r the including of sanitary features, and all regulations 
for comfort and utility, were developed by Miss Durin, who super- 
inten dented every detail of the construction, in person. 

This buikling conforms to every modern item of perfection. In 
architecture, it is a model. In sanitary appointments it seems to 
be more than jDerfect. The lavatories established thei'ein have 
porcelain and nickel furnishings. The libraryroom is a little gem 
by itself, stored with just such books as the school demands. The 
wardrooms are examjdes of perfect arrangement. The seats are 
all graded to adapt themselves to the size of the pu]iils to ()ccu])y 
them from the first to the eighth grades. All light is admitted to 
the room from the rear and left-hand side of the ^lupils. All out- 
buildings are approached by broad cement walks, the groimds are 
beantitied by trees, shrubbery and flowers, and the school is pi'o- 
vided with jiure sparkling drinking water from a well, e(|uipped 
with modern bu))bler drinking appliances. 

The number "3" indicated on the "Superior Diploma" issued 
to this school indicates that it is the third one granted by the state 
superintendent's office to any school within the borders of Illinois, 
a most gratifying and remarkable fact. 

The capacity of the new school building was far inadequate to 
contain tli(jse who had assembled to assist in the formalities of the 
occasit)n, and the auditorium of the chni'ch adjacent was used for 
this purpose. 

Conspicuous on the program was the "History of Our School," 
by Mr. G. T. Noe, clerk of the board of directors. His notations 
showed that the first school at this place was tanght in James 
Thompson's original log cabin. In this deskless school-room the 
seats were slabs with( mt backs, placed around the walls of the room. 
In 1S54 a schoolhouse was built by subscription, and three years 
later became the property of the school district by pui'chase. Fire 
destroyed this structure in 1864, and the Ellsworth schoolhouse 
replaced it in 1865. 



216 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The iirst teacher in this school was Mi's. Maria Ellsworth, aud 
it was beautifully appropriate to have her present, aud to listen to 
her leminiscences of the days when she received $1.25 per week 
for her services, and boarded round. 

The site of this school was some distance south of the new 
•Superior ISchool, well sheltered ou the north, west, aud south by 
the trees of Twin Grove. In recent years, this site was changed to 
the present location in iScarboro, where the old building gave way 
for the modern new one. The old building was sold by the tiuistees, 
and now forms a part of a store building in the village, and is 
occupied by C C. Eisher, with a stock of general merchandise. 

Aliss Eunice Eisher, daughter of Jacob Eisher is the present 
efficient teacher in this school, she is a graduate of the University 
of Wisconsin, and holds a life certificate from that state. By her 
painstaking efforts, splendid judgment, and general professional 
ability, she has caused the school to maintain a standard of work 
connneusurate with expectations. Manual training, music, sewing, 
and the elements of domestic science are taught in this school in 
addition to the regular course of study. 

The State Inspector, Mr. U. J. Holi'man, conmiented with much 
enthusiasm, on the general conditions found here, indicating, "I 
find everything up to expectations." Plans are now developing 
for tlie visit of the state inspector, with a view to a beginning in 
the third list of schools, the ' ' Standard Graded School. ' ' Doubtless 
a school of this type will soon grace the list as a pioneer in this 
departure. 

This portion of this contribution for history's page would be 
incomplete without due recognition of the faithfulness and loyalty 
of Lee county's teachers, without which these splendid achieve- 
ments would be seriously interfered with ; and to the large body of 
pupils and patrons whose zeal and fidelity know no rest. All credit 
to them, they who bear the burdens in shine and shadow. The 
inspector's compliment to those responsible for the excellent 
foundation for achieving these results for the general welfare of 
the i-ising generation is most a]»])r()pi'iate in this chronicle. "Lee 
county has a grand foundation for this woi'k of improvement, in 
which there is honor enough fur us all." 

The school systems of today are well organized. Accredited 
courses of study are given in several of the schools maintaining the 
full four-year work, while schools maintaining but two years of 
such work, are given full, or lilieral ei'edit for tlie work done. 
Rural school work is specifically planned and executed, and 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 217 

splendid standards maintained. Monthly reports to the homes are 
general. Bi-monthly tests are provided for prospective graduates 
from rural schools and a "Central Examination" paves the way 
with "half -credit" for graduation. "Central Examinations" are 
personally conducted by the C(^)unt3' superintendent who reviews 
the work of each gradnate, presciibing in the individual case for 
deficiencies, none worthy being barred from graduation until the 
opening of schools in the succeeding year. One hundred and twenty- 
five out of a class of one hundred and twenty-six graduated last 
year, and the new High School Tuition Act, i^assed by the last 
(U'lieral Assembly now makes the district responsible for all 
tuition papiieuts necessary to give all pupils a high school educa- 
tion. 

Among the new school laws enacted by the last (Forty-eighth) 
General Assemldy. we may note the following: The addition of 
$1,000,000 to the "distributable fund foi' the distribution of lf)U. 
The act to provide high school privileges for eighth grade grad- 
uates, the home district Ix'coming responsible for the payment of 
the tuition of all such pupils, during the present (1913-1914) 
school year, and each year thereafter. The act to provide for the 
certification of teachers, to take effect July 1, 1914, whereby the 
county will issue nine different forms of teachers" certificates, 
instead of two, at presen.t, and whereby the exannnations for 
teachers' certificates will be wholly in the hands of the state exam- 
ining board. The act relative to the election of members of boards 
of education provides for nominations by petition, such petitions to 
be filed at least ten days prior to the election and all ballots to be 
furnished by the district. 

The first annual report of the county superintendent of schools, 
now available in the office of said officer, bears the date of 1869, 
and was made by Superintendent James H. Preston. The follow- 
ing items of interest are taken therefrom : 

Total persons under 21 years of age, 13.513; number between 
6 and 21, 8,862 ; number enrolled in schools, 8,310 ; number of school 
districts, 144 ; number of schoolhonses, 145. 

Male teachers, 93; female teachers, 164; total, 257. 

Highest monthly salary of men, $120 ; lowest monthly salary of 
men, $20 ; highest monthly salary of women, $50 ; lowest monthly 
salary of women, $10. 

Amount received from distributable fund, $10,299.12. 

Total expenditure for all school purposes, $83,027.29. 



218 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

One section of school laud iu Hamilton town, and one section in 
Viola town were yet unsold. 

The annual report of the same officer for 1873, forty years ago, 
shows inq)roYed school conditions. Five hundred and sixty acres 
of the school section of Viola were sold during this year for about 
$12.50 per acre. The remainder was sold later at about the same 
price, and the Hamilton section was sold in 1892 for about $7.00 
per acre. One cannot help thinking that if the sale of these Lee 
county lands which were set aside for the perpetuation and main- 
tenance of schools, might have been deferred, our schools would 
have ijrohted immeasurabl_y thereby. 

Items of interest in the annual report of the county superin- 
tendent of schools for 1913 are as follows: 

Number of kindergarten pupils 70 

Number of private schools 4 

Number of teachers in private schools 14 

Enrollment in private schools 411 

Number of pul)lic school districts 163 

Number of public school buildings 169 

Number of teaching positions in public schools. . .263 

Number of men teachers 23 

Nnml)er of women teachers 240 

Total value of school property $455,512.00 

Amount of tax levy '. 153,697.00 

Tuition of transferred pupils 176.64 

l-'aid for transportation of pupils 571.95 

Paid for new grounds and buildings .... 10,001.75 

Paid for new e((ui])m('nt 2,920.64 

Net expenditures for school purposes. . . . 171.494.46 
Distributed by county supei'intendent 

from distributable finid 7,949.76 

Cash on hand — school funds 84,313.57 

Tlie following statistics pertain to numbers as per cohunn 
explanation. 

Total Total Enrolled 

under between in pnlilic 

21 yrs. 6 and 21 schools 

Bi-ooklyn 539 278 254 

Viola 264 181 132 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 219 

Reynolds 255 164 113 

A\\voiniiig 560 4U9 2S8 

Willow Creek 381 266 1U8 

Alto 354 237 167 

Hamiltou 175 118 92 

Haniiou 353 261 134 

Nelson 332 240 178 

Palmyra 275 193 106 

East(;rove 211 171 120 

Marion 311 206 152 

Dixon 2,111 1,554 907 

(North ) Dixon 1,282 843 630 

May town 248 164 131 

Aniboy 847 635 485 

Sonth China and Naclmsa . . 535 363 294 

North China and Nachnsa. . 115 82 35 

Snblette 389 277 231 

Lee Center 397 251 181 

Bradford 352 248 191 

Ashton 411 315 249 



10,697 7,456 5,178 

Of those enrolled in pnblic schools 617 were in high schools. 
There were 103 high schodl graduates and 124 gi-adnates from the 
cijmmon schools. 

Da 1911 an exhibit of the prodncts of the connties traversed by 
the Illinois Central railroad was held at the Illinois State Fair. 
Mr. Ernest -T. Hecker of Amboy, Illinois, had charge of Lee 
county's exhibits on this occasion, and took some tine prizes. 

Co-incident with this event, and maintained each year there- 
after, a Boys' State Fail' School has lieen maintained by the Illi- 
nois State Farmers' Association, to which Lee connty has sent 
representatives each year — the same being boys from the country 
and city schools. 

The 1911 class consisted of C. O. Rosenkrans, Miles Leavens and 
Charles W. Jeanblanc, from Paw Paw. Amboy and Lee Center 
respectively. F. B. Haley and Ernest J. Hecker, both of Amboy, 
constituted the 1912 class, while George King and Roy Thomp- 
son, both of Amboy. composed the 1913 class. 

In all rural schools, and in several of the high schools, the Illi- 
nois State Course of Study is fundameiitally the basic guide for 
the classification of pupils and for the work prescribed for study. 



220 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The subject of agriculture is now required for graduation from the 
rural schools. The subjects of manual training, sewing and domes- 
tic science are also fast becoming popular in rural schools, while 
drawing and vocal music are taught in a large per cent of the coun- 
try schools. Exhibits of such work in local centers, and at the 
county fair, indicate that the popiilarity of these subjects is radiat- 
ing from the cities and villages to the smaller rural centers, where, 
too, the larger training of vocational faculties blends harmoniously 
with mental proficiency. 

Standing, as it were, upon an eminence, from which we review 
the splendid records of the past, warming the heart with a glow 
of satisfaction, and making plain, and ever more plain, the duty of 
all into whose care is entrusted, during the plastic fonnative years 
of childhood, the moulding of character — the great leadership in 
matters of a better citizenship for the imborn days, and we pledge 
ourselves, one and all, to a rededication of faithfulness of effort, 
and a continuance of worthy motive in the great cause of education 
■ — for the children's sake. 



CHAPTER XV 

HISTORICAL SKETCH OP THE SWAMP 
By George A. Lyman 

The drainage of Inlet Swamp, comprising about 30,000 acres 
of land in tlie townships of Alto, Willow Creek, Reynolds, Viola, 
Bradford and Lee Center, in Lee coimty, Illinois, is one of the 
most stupendous undertakings in the history of northern Illinois 
— not alone from the magnitude of the work itself, but from the 
great difficulties that had to be overcome. The dam of solid rock 
half a mile thick, at Inlet, presented a barrier that had been looked 
upon as insurmountable. 

Action for reclaiming these lands had been taken as far back 
as the early '70s. The writer has been on at least three drainage 
assessment juries since 1870; but all attempts proved futile and 
brought no good results from the fact that there was no sufficient 
outlet. The ditches cut at A^arious times at several thousand dol- 
lars' expense, through land that is practically a dead level, served 
as channels in which the water could accumulate during the sum- 
mer and fall, when the land was not overflowed ; but they provided 
no cTirrent, and aided but little in remo^ang the water. The ledge 
of rock at Inlet had to be cut through and a deep channel made as 
the first move in any successful system of drainage. It took time 
and costly experiment to convince the majority of swamp-land 
owners of this. 

To Iva Brewe]', one of the earliest settlers of Bradford town- 
ship, belongs the credit and the honor of being the pioneer in 
reclaiming the swamp lands of Inlet. He first recognized the pros- 
pective value of the lands and was always active in protecting 
public interest in them. The old Dewey dam, eight feet high, set 
the water back about twelve miles and overflowed about fifteen 

221 



222 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

tliousand acres of laud. All these lauds were giveu to the county 
by the state, wliich received them from the (rovermneut. A move 
was made iu the early days to have the 15,UUU acres of over- 
flowed lauds giveu to the uull owners for a perpetual mill- 
pond. The action was well nieaut, and at that time appeared to 
be a wise aud judicious action; and but for the personal efforts 
of Ira Brewer it would have been consummated. He stood at first 
almost alone in his opposition to it on the county board, and was 
the only member that was determined iu his opposition to it. The 
scheme was liually defeated by a majority of one. 

Following this action came the removal of the Dewey dam at 
Inlet aud the loweiing of the water level all over the tract of 
30,000 acres. In place of the waste of water in which grew gigantic 
rushes, Indian rice and other worthless vegetation, the home of 
millions of geese, ducks, sw^au, brant, pheasant, grouse, wild 
tui'key and other wild game, there came in gradually a growth 
of coarse slough grasses, some sliort aud mingled with weeds in 
gieat variety, other kinds rank and tall, growing to a height of 
ten or twelve feet. The land was overflowed during the spring 
and early summer, but later unless the season was wet, the water 
drained off: and the sod, which was of the very toughest nature, 
would bear up a team and loaded wagon. During the fall of the 
.year, after the grass had been killed by frosts, maguifieent prairie 
fires pi'evailed until snow came ; the flames at night, when there 
were high Aviuds, lighting u]) the sky with sui'passing grandeur, 
enabling a person to read V)y the light miles away, and being 
\isible for a distance of nearly one hundred miles. These mag- 
nificent scenes of thirty years aud more ago remain indelibly 
imiDressed upon the memories of those who witnessed them. Dur- 
ing the winter months there were uidiniited skating facilities. 
It continued to be the home and nesting place of wild fowl, and 
of deer, wolf, and othei' game, and was a paradise for huutei's. 
During the grazing season the eastern part of Viola township 
was headquarters for an immense herding ground extending 
througliuut the entire eastern part of tlu^ swaui]t. whore thousands 
of cattle and horses were herded by a troo]) of herders — cattle for 
one dollar a head and horses for two dollars a head during the sea- 
son. Robert M. Peile of Rewiolds township handled the herding 
many years, and a man ]\v the name of Collins also had a large herd 
there. Enclosed pastures were almost unknown in those years, and 
almost oxery fai'mer in the eastern part of the county, and many 
from a greater distance, had cattle in the herd during the sum- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 223 

mer season; aucl uotwitlistauding the swarms of "greeii-licads" 
and other annoying insects, stock eanie out in good condition the 
first of October. 

The swamp, especially abont the edges, began to be dryer; the 
quality of the grasses became better and better. Attempts were 
made to laise crops on lands that a few 5^ears before were under 
water; the wild grass improved in quality, and dry seasons after 
harvest hundreds of farmers from miles around could be found 
on the "swamps" cutting "sprangle-top" hay. At tirst it cost 
nothing but the labor of cutting, cnring. and hauling; but iu a few 
}'ears its value became known to the land-owners and it sold for 
from fifty cents to one dollar and fifty cents an acre standing. Dur- 
ing the extremely dry summer of 1887 the marsh was nearly all cut 
for hay, farmers and liverymen coming from Polo, Oregon, and 
even farther, buying the standing hay for from one dollar to one 
dollar and fifty cents an acre. "Pond hay" sold the following 
winter as high as eight dollars to ten dollars a ton. 

About this stage in the ti'ansformation of the marsh lands, 
the project of foiining a hunting park was agitated by Mr. Val- 
entine Hicks of Bradford, who owned what was formerly the 
Stephen Clink farm, now owned by W. S. Frost, Jr. He is a 
native of Tiong Island, a practical Inmter with nmch experience 
in such matters, having organized the first Inuiters' club of New 
York city and was the founder of a limiting park at Currituck 
Sound, North Carolina. After several years of agitation the 
"Rising Sun Park Association" was organized and incorporated 
with a capital stock of $50,000, compiising 500 shares of $100 
each, with the piincipal office at Asliton, Lee county, Illiuois, the 
duration of the corporation to be ninety-nine years. The ol)ject 
A\as to pi'eserve the lands — inclosing a tract about seven miles 
square — for game and fish, for hunting and pleasure for niem- 
])ers of the association. The Rising Sun Park Association was 
incorporated Dec. 24. 18S7, and papers issued, Henry D. Dement 
being Secretary of State. The incorporators were Samuel Dysart, 
John Nelles, Samuel P. Mills, IT. Crant Dysart, Yalentine Hicks, 
William A. Hunt, Dr. Nicholas Rowc. A constitution and by- 
laws were ad(^pted and liooks for subscription to the capital stock 
were opened. 

There were eight directors: Samuel Dysart, Franklin Grove; 
Samuel F. Mills, Ashton ; John Nelles, West Brooldyn : Valen- 
tine Hicks. Bradford: Dr. N. Rowe, 343 State street, Chicago; 
Dwight Townsend, 187 Broadway, New York; Mr. H. S. Bergen, 



224 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Bay Ridge, L. I. ; Mr. M. C. Clark, Washington, 1). C. The officers 
were: President, Samuel Dysart; vice-president, \'alentine 
Hicks; ti'easurer, N. A. Petrie, Ashton; secretary, IT. Grant Dy- 
sart, Franklin Grove. A part of the stock was subscribed and a 
lively interest was taken in the enterprise by gentlemen in Chi- 
cago, New York and other places. There arose a contest for 
su]3remacy between those favoring a park and those favoring 
reclaiming the land fi»r agricultural jnirposes. It is still thought 
by some that a game preserve would have been a good thing, and 
fully as profitable in the long nni as to dry up the great soni'ce 
of water supplv in that section. The advantages of a game park 
and preserve as contemplated by Mr. Hicks and others were 
never understood by the landowners and the public. We ai'e too 
pi'actical and would turn everything to profit, regai'dless of ]>leas- 
ure and other considerations. A game preserve, as contem})lated. 
com^Drising about fifty square miles, would have been a source of 
profit to farmers in that section, in the greatl,v enhanced value of 
land which Wf)ul(l follow the attractions of a pai'k owned and 
beautified by wealthy men of the cities. Hard roads, telegraph 
and telephone lines, fine club-houses, distinguished visitors with 
money to sjjcnd with a postoffice and other features most desir- 
able and advantageous wonld have followed in time. 

In this c(mnection it is proper to call attention to the game 
park now in process of establishment in Buieau county, com- 
prising about twenty thonsand acres of what is known as St. 
Peter's maish — a tract of land very similar to the Inlet marsh 
lands. It would not be difficult to drain these lands; but a pai'k 
associatii>n has been organized, wealthy men have been interested 
in the project, and $200,000 will be used in the purchase of the 
tract and as nnich more f(U" attractive club houses and for lieauti- 
fying and making necessary improvements. The association will 
be organized and take possession this season, 1901. 

A\'hile these marsh lands were well adapted to the purposes of 
a game ]>ark, the idea of reclaiming them for agricultural pnr- 
l)oses liad gained such a hold u])ou the minds of the landowners, 
that it ])revailed, and the game park ])roject failed. It had the 
(d'fcct, however, of forcing the friends of drainage to act more 
])idm])tly and decidedly. The game park movement is an incident 
in flic history of the swam]i lands that is woithy of this notice. 
Had the movement been launched ten or twenty years earlier, the 
pi'os])ect of success would have been good. Only those who lived in 
the vicinity of the swamps in the early days, before and just 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 225 

after the Dewey clam was removed, would believe the marvelous 
facts that could be narrated of the millious of geese, duck, brant, 
swan, and other water fowl that during the spring and fall cov- 
ered the swamps, rising in immense flocks that literally spotted 
the sky like flying eloTids and filled the air with a noisy quack 
and cackle, flying low in the air within easy I'ange of a shot-gun — 
with prairie chicken, quail, pheasant, sand-hill crane, and other 
game, all in such vast number as to become a niusance in grain 
fields. Wild game was nioi'e common on the table than domestic 
fowl during the spring and fall ; and a wild goose, a pair of ducks 
or a brace of chickens could often be had for the asking. 

The wisdom and foresiglit (if Ira Brewer had become mani- 
fest, and the swamp lands came during all these yeai's to have 
a value. The idea of draining the lands began to take shape, 
although but few believed they would ever become equal in value 
to the adjacent highlands. Schemes of private drainage and 
drainage under special acts of the Ijcgislature were worke;! with 
little success and not much profit. The landowners wei'e not 
satisfied until they had practically demonstrated that the lands 
could not be drained with a wdde stone dam at the natural outlet 
only a few inches lower than the level of the swamp. The stone 
dam must be cut through and a system of ditches dug. at an 
expense estimated by Mr. Rutledge, tlie first engineer employed 
to make a full and careful estimate, of $185,000. This dismayed 
the landowners, being far more than tlie entire swamp was worth. 
The svstem was modified to reduce the expense to $67,000. That 
was the first outlay. The completed system has cost neai'ly the 
$] 85,000; and the price of the swamp lands now fidly equals, and 
even exceeds the price of the adjacent uplands. 

Sometime during 1885 or 1886 three men owning large tracts 
of land in the swamps — Ira Brewei' of Bradford, John Nelles of 
Viola, and A. B. McFarland of Mendota — joined in an effoit to 
organize a drainage district on a scale never before contemplated. 
Tt was to take in all the lands that woidd he benefited by drainage 
and open an outlet of sufficient depth and ca]iacity through the 
rock at Inlet. This was the first movement that culminated in 
the organization of Inlet SwanTji Bi'ainage District. They met 
with opposition and faced difficulties that would have daunted 
men of less foresight, courage and perseverance. To them, espe- 
cially to Mr. John Nelles, of Viola, Itelongs the credit of having 
not only originated the work, but of having cleared the way of 



226 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

pix'limiiiary diificiilties, secured the good will of the majority of 
landowners toward the euteiprise and put it ou a sound basis. 
Those who now enjoy the benefits and advantages of the drain- 
age system have little idea of the time and money expended by Mr. 
Nelles in preparing the way, meeting the objections, and allay- 
ing the fears of landowners. Opposition to a scheme involving 
so enormous an outlay was natural, and it required the highest 
degi ee of patience, tact and perseverance to In'iug a majority of 
the landowners into acceptance of his -s'iews and secure their sup- 
I^ort for the enterprise. 

This pieliminary work, so efficiently performed and so essen- 
tial to futuie success, was most ably seconded by the masterful 
executive ability and untiling energy of Mr. Wesley Steward, 
one of the first conunissiouers after the organization of the dis- 
trict. It is just and proper to make special mention of the invalu- 
able services rendered by Commissioner Steward, the man of 
acti<in and eneigy who bore the brunt of the work during the early 
years and devoted the most of his time to it. Those associated 
with him in the work bear witness to his superior activity and 
helpfulness, and join in giving to him the i^lace of honor as the 
executive head of the commission. 

The successful completion of the work is not the only remark- 
able feature of the enterprise. Seldom, if ever, has an under- 
taking of such magnitude, so far-reaching in its results, involving 
so many interests, and affecting the rights and property of so 
large a number of individuals, been carried out with so little 
litigation and so few mistakes. Every move has been well 
])lanned, carefully considered with reference to all interests in- 
volved, and skillfully and thoroughly executed. There has been 
no indecision nor delay, and few if any errors in judgment. The 
rights of individuals have been carefully considered with refer- 
ence to the ))est interests of the district as a whole; and so uuich 
f-arc and good judgment has been exercised in e\ery detail of the 
work that the district has been involved in no litigation; some- 
tliiiig most reniarlvable. and wliidi icflects the highest credit upon 
the wisdom, sagacity and sense of justice of the attorney for the 
district, the judge and the commissioners. No other drainage 
district, small or large, can show such a record, although the Tnlet 
Swam]) Drainage l>isti'ict I'ncoiiiitered all the troubles and diffi- 
culties that lunc beset any other drainage district, and met and 
]»eacefnlly settled simie difficulties of a serious nature, encoiui- 
tei'ed by no othei- district vet organized. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 227 

Many precedents have been established for other districts to 
follow; and the proceedings as a whole will be found of great 
historic value as well as of historic interest. The woi k will remain 
a monument to the foresight, perseverance and good judgment of 
the men who organized it. and the men who have borne a part in 
planning, directing and executing it. 



HISTORICAL KEVIEAV OF THE ENTERPRISE 

By A. 0. Bardwell. 

In the eastern secti<:»n of Lee county is a large liody of land 
known as "Inlet Swamp"" which until recent years was not only 
of little worth, but seriously depreciated the tracts that l3r»r(lered 
it. The more depressed portions were submerged in wet seasons, 
so that large areas were converted into lakes and ponds. The pre- 
vailing growth in this jiart <:if the tract was slough grass hoi'se 
high, cattail, bullrushes and the like. The land coming within this 
class had no market value. In dry seasons the fiuer grades of 
slough grass were cut f(n' hay, l)ut in wet seasons Inrrrters ei'joyed 
the only revenue. It is difficult to estimate the acreage iu the 
slough proper, but it was probably not less than ten thousand 
acres. 

A marvelous change has l)('en wrought in all this section l\v the 
organization of Inlet Swamp Drainage District and the work it 
has been cai'rving on and has ln'ouglit to final completion tins 
winter. The district was organized in tb.e county couit of Lee 
county, the Hon. R. S. Farrand, judge presiding, by an order 
entered Aug. 5, 1887, the petition therefor having been filed on the 
10th day of the preceding November. jMuch Intter- opposition was 
aroused and every conceival»l(' oltstm-lc interposed by a large ele- 
ment of the interested landowners, who seemed to labor under the 
conviction that the movement was destined to r'esnlt in virtual 
confiscation of their property. The feasibility and utility of the 
scheme was doubted by many who l^elieved that the cost of the 
work worrld greatly over-match the benefits to be dei'ived. l)nt 
now that the hopes of the most sangirirre have been realized, the 
work is generally regarded as a great success. In view of develop- 
ments, it seems rrnaccountable now. that the undertakiuu' sliould 
have met the antagonism it did fi'om the very landowners who 
have since reaped rich benefits in yearly incomes fr'om once unsal- 
able property, and in the consequent enhancement of values. 



228 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Though little has been said or known about this work outside 
the immediate vicinity where it has been going on, and aside from 
occasional articles in the Ambo)^ Journal and brief references to 
it in other papers and the formal legal notices appearing as 
required, the press has been silent regarding it; the fact is that 
no public work ever carried forward in Lee county compares with 
it in magnitude of wealth created or reclaimed. It has raised 
whole farms from the mire, and converted an unsightly, pestilen- 
tial swamp into a rich agricultural district, where lands unsal- 
able before are bringing from sixty dollars to eighty dollars an 
acre. 

It has added an average of nearly 40 per cent to the assessable 
A-alue of the lands within the district. By towns the increase has 
been as follows : 

Alto from $11,798 in 1886 to $14,722 in 1899 

Bradford from 21,791 in 1886 to 34,010 in 1899 

Lee Center from 26,219 in 1886 to 32,420 in 1899 
Willow Creek from 6,228 in 1886 to 6,402 in 1899 
Viola from 59,177 in 1886 to 120,083 in 1899 

Revnolds from 28.556 in 1886 to 47,569 in 1899 



$183,769 $255,206 

The increase in actual market value, as indicated by the price 
at which lands have been sold and ai'c now selling, is A^ery much 
greatei' than these figures would indicate. 

The process by which such beneficent results have been accom- 
plished may, therefore, be a matter of public interest, and it is 
due to those who have encouraged and supported the enterprise, 
as well as to the officers who have borne the burdens of the task 
and surmounted its many difficulties and discouragements, that 
the story of the task be told. 

The district embraces 30,079 acres, all of which was found 
by the court to need drainage, although much was fair ]iasture and 
hay land in other than wet years. The four main ditches or chan- 
iiols have a total length of thirty-two miles, into which empty over 
seven and (tn(>-]ialf miles of smaller ditches and "laterals." 

Preliminary t<> the order oi-ganizing the district the court 
appointed E. C. Parsons, Wesley St(>ward and John Nelles, com- 
missioners to lay out the proposed ditches and report plans, pro- 
files aiid ostiniatcs. including the ]ir(iba1>l(' cost of the work. They 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 229 

first called to their assistance the county's old reliable engineer, 
William McMahon, Esq., but he soon discovered that lie could not 
go on with the work to the end. Mr. A. E. Rutledge, a thoi'oughly 
competent young engineer of Rockford, took his place and Mr. 
McMahon contributed such counsel as was needed. As far as 
weather would permit advantage was taken of the frozen condi- 
tion of the ponds the following winter to make the surveys, and on 
April 21, 1887, the commissioners submitted their report. The 
engineer estimated that the prt)posed district drained a watershed 
of about one hundred and fifteen thousand acres, and that the con- 
struction of tlie ditches as located by his survey woidd require 
the removal of 3,544,817 cubic yards of earth and 79,700 cubic 
yards of stone. The connnissioners reported that the work, includ- 
ing all expenses of the district, would probably reach $185,000. 
When the report came up for heai'ing the protestants were nmner- 
ous. Evei'y available lawj^er in the county, and some from neigh- 
boring comities, were enlisted and the court room was crowded 
with indigiiant landowners from far and near, clamoring for pro- 
tection against what was characterized as a high-handed outrage 
on the part of the commissioners. 

After patient hearing the court ordered the commissioners 
to estimate and report the probable cost of a modified system, ter- 
minating the "Main Ditch" 2,600 feet below the Birdsall bridge, 
instead of at the Badger dam, as recommended by the commis- 
sioners, lessening the depth and width of the rock cut at Inlet, 
generally contracting the size of the ditches throughout the dis- 
trict and reducing the estimated material to be removed to 
640,000 cubic yards of earth and 10,400 cubic 3^ards of stone. The 
commissioners reported the probable cost of such work at $67,000. 
On the basis of this report the court granted the order organizing 
the district, the purpose being to ccmstruct the ditches according 
to the modified system. Time has shown that the one first advanced 
by the commissioners should have been followed, but jmblic senti- 
ment in that as in most matters had to be educated up to the point 
of wisdom. Drainage was then in its infancy and must needs 
slowly win its way to public favor, as it has most trimnphantly 
done. The ditches, as at last constructed, conform substantially 
to the lines and dimensions laid down l)y these first commissioners 
and their young engineer. 

The contract to do this first work was let Eel). 15, 1888, in two 
portions, the larger to Pollard & Goft' who sublet it to McGillis & 
Company, the lesser to Gilbert F. Henning. 



230 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

A jury composed of William McMahou, foreman, J. C. How- 
lett, James Kirby, Julm Fruit, John Hoklren, Abram Bennett, 
Jerome Bennett, John Nass, Oeorge Carey, (i. A. Lyman, E. W. 
Pomeroy and James King, was impaneled to spread the assess- 
ment (»n the lauds of the district for the required $67,000. This 
work was done during the fall of 1887, and was very thoroughly 
performed, every tract thrttughout the entire district being 
inspected carefully by the jury in a body, the WMjrk covering a 
period of nearly three mouths. The laud in tracts was classified 
in proportion to tlie benefits to l)e received from the drainage — 
f lom 5 to 100 ; that is, those tracts receiving the least benefit were 
marked 5, the next in order of l)enefits 10, and so on, the tract 
receiving the greatest l)enefit l)eing marked 100. The $67,000 was 
then apportioned to each tract from these figures according to the 
number of acres in a tract. Work was begun and was pushed 
■\'igor(»usly during the year 1888. 

A year later, Feb. 15. 1889, the couunissioners made a report, 
based on the actual result of the year's W(n'k, to the effect that 
the first assessment would fall short of completing the ditches, and 
asking for a second assessment. After due hearing at which the 
])rior opposition was renewed, the court oi'dered an assessment of 
$17,000 to finish the W(U'k undertaken, and a jury to make the 
same was again impaneled, composed of William McMah(m, fore- 
man. J. C. lIoAvlett, Jerouu' Bennett, A. J. Tompkins, Abram Ben- 
nett. John lloldren, James Kirliy. John Fruit, George Cai'ey, 
John Nass, (I. A. Lyman and A. B. Fitch, and their labors w^ere 
confirmed by tlie court May 6, 18S9. In the (^onrse of that sum- 
mer the ditches were completed. 

Aug. ;>, 185)1, the court ordered the couunissioners to extend an 
assessment of $2,800 foi' i»ur poses of repair, and their action was 
confiiiiied by the coiiit Lee. 7. 1891. 

As the season went by it Ix'came more and more apparent to 
tlie conuuissioners and to the ardent friends of the woi'k, that the 
ditches were entirely inadequate to thorougldy drain the swamp 
aiid gi\-e the owners of lauds tlu' relied' sought. The swainp was 
a vast basin of wet cu- soggy land, dominated by ledges of rock at 
Inlet, the only ])lace of esca])e. The level of w^ater was gauged 
])y the lowest i>oint in this Imrrier. Below this the water saturat- 
ing the soil could not f;ill. excepting l)y evaporation, any more 
than a full bairel could eiiqtty itself. As completed, the open- 
i7ig thi'ough the rock was eighteen feet wide at bottom, and about 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 231 

live feet deep. Througli tins aperture the floods of tlic raiuy 
seasous were compelled to pass, and it was impossible for tlie 
water to get away quickly eiiougli and lower the water level in 
the soil sufiicienth' to render the wetter lands relial^le for till- 
age. This was evident to any unprejudiced person. 

With the hope of remedying this radical defect the connnis- 
sioners petitioned the court, Jidy 18, 1893, for authority to widen 
the rock cut to the width of twenty-four feet at liottom and to 
(lee})en it four or five feet, and to extend the "Main Ditch" to 
the Badger dam to secure the necessary fall. But at the hear- 
ing the oi)position on the part of many of the landowners was 
so stubborn that the court was compeded to refuse the petition 
of the commissionei's ; and thus did the contesting landowners once 
more accomplish the temporary defeat of thorough drainage, and 
])ostpone the benefits idtimately to be attained. It will ])e seen 
that at no time was it the fault of the commissioners that the 
system stopped short of the Inghest efficiency; lint by a strange 
blindness to self-interest, and an unaccountable disrespect of the 
law which prevents water from running up hill, the contesting 
])roprietors obstinatel}' set themselves against the necessary im- 
provements. This was in 1893. At this writing (December. 1900) 
an outlet of much greater capacity than here proposed is carrying 
away the water of the district. 

Restive undei- the restraints and losses inflicted by a policy so 
short-sighted, a number of owners of lands in the district, residing 
in the central part of the state where the value of drainage had 
been demonstrated, generously offered to pay the expense of 
widening the rock cut. The jDroposition was submitted to the court 
and the commissioners were authorized to accept the proffer and 
do the work. The cut was thus made twenty feet wider down to 
a line within a few feet of the bottom at a cost to these people of 
$10,24] .8], for which they have received no reimbursements other 
than the benefits residting to their holdings in common with the 
rest of th(> lauds of the district. These non-resident landowners 
were represented by ]Mr. E. F. Nichols of Delevan, 111., whose 
intelligent judgment and persistent laboi'S in supporting the com- 
missioners and promoting the interests of the district deserve to 
be here recognized as well nigh invaluable. 

In July. 1895, the commissioners reported a shortage of fmids 
needed to keep the ditches in good condition; that trees were 
becoming rooted and bars wei'e forming. After due notice and 
hearing the court impaneled a jury to levy a fourth assessment 



232 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

amuimting to $9,000 ou the lauds of the district — James Kirby, 
foieiuaii, Abraiu Bennett, Warreu Smith, Demiis Bradshaw, John 
M. Sterling, V. E. Rogers, George Carey, W. B. Merrunan, Hi- 
ram Hetler, M. M. Avery, H. E. Chadwick and W. W. Gilmore, 
comprised the jury. Their work was confirmed by the court Nov. 
4, 1895. 

In 1897 the connnissioners made a third and successful effort 
to extend and enlarge the outlet and increase the caj)acity of all 
the ditches to proportions adequate to carry off the water as 
quickly as possible. Proper profiles, plans and estimates were 
made and presented to the court with their petition May 19, 1897. 
It was noticeable ou the hearing of this petition that the grounds 
of opposition had shifted. The ditches had been for years argu- 
ing the cause of drainage, and their logic had compelled recog- 
nition. Now the question did not turn on the advisability of 
greater capacity and swifter flow, but on the adjustment of the 
tax among the different owners. 

On the hearing of this petition the court found "that it is 
necessary that the ditches of the district be widened, extended 
and deepened, as hei'einafter ordered, in order to secure the proper 
drainage of the lands of the district;" and that "the probable cost 
of said work, together with charges and expenses necessarily inci- 
dent thereto will be fifty-five thousand dollars." Accordingly 
the court ordered the commissioners, June 7, 1897, to extend an 
assessment of that amount on the lands of the district for the 
purpose of lowering the cut through the rock four to five feet and 
widening it to the width of thirty feet and extending the "Main 
Ditch" to a point 100 feet below the Kreiter dam and lower- 
ing correspondingly the North Ditch, Fourth Ditch, Middle Ditch 
and South Ditch, as well as certain laterals. This work has now 
been eonqileted; and thus lias )»een A'indicated, by l)oth court and 
]in])lic sentiment, after a long and often disheartening struggle, 
the i)t)licy reermmieiided by the first commissioners and their engi- 
neer and advocated by their successors. The loss caused by its 
belated victory has fallen on the ])ro]terfy owners. 

'^I'his fifth assessment made hy the commissioners was confirmed 
by the court Sept. 13, 1897, and on the 16th day of the same 
month the contract foi' the work was let to John W. Boyer of 
Norfli Mauchestei-. Ind. Mr. Boyer 's prosecution of the work was 
so (lilafoi'y and unsatisfactory that the conmiissioners rescinded 
their confi'act with him and relet the job to TNIr. John E. Burke 
of <'hicago at the same figures. Notwithstanding the many unex- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 233 

pected difficulties encountered by reason, principally, of unfavor- 
able weather, be hung manfully to his task and fulfilled his con- 
tract to the letter, except in the date of completion, which was 
extended as the necessities of the situation required. Mr. 
Burke's work showed him to be a thoroughly reliable contractor. 

But the money raised by the fifth assessment proved insuffi- 
cient to finish the job and the commissioners were forced to peti- 
tion the court for a sixth assessment. After due hearing, at which 
many landowners appeared, the court ordered that $15,000 more 
be raised to complete the work and repair the ditches. This order 
was entered Jan. 13, 1900, and a jury to extend the assessment 
was impaneled, consisting of James Kirby, foreman, Jesse Cole, 
Hiram Hetler, Edward Lamb, Abram Bennett, E. L. Thorp, F. L. 
Childs, F. E. Rogers, Frank Messer, George W. Smith, William 
V. Jones and B. F. Lane, whose assessment was confirmed by the 
court July 6, 1900. 

The ditches of the system being now finally completed it only 
remains to maintain them in such condition as will render them 
most serviceable. The assessments aggregate $165,800, and this 
plus the contribution mentioned must be set down as the cost of 
ditches to date, less such joortion of the last assessment as will be 
left for repair purposes. 

The work done under the contract with Pollard & Goff was at 
the rate of ten to twelve cents (according to locality) per cubic 
yard for earth, fifty-five cents for stone and thirty-five cents for 
hardpan. The rate under the contract with Henning was nine and 
one-half to twelve cents (according to locality) per cubic yard for 
earth, twenty-five cents for stone and hardpan ; but the Pollard & 
Goff contract embraced all the rock and hardpan work. Under all 
the contracts with Boyer and Biirke the price was ten cents per 
cubic yard for earth, fifty-five cents for stone and forty cents 
for hardpan. The three contracts were let to the lowest bidder 
and were considered to be very favorable to the district. In each 
instance there was sharp competition among contractors seeking 
the job. 

The assessments were made payable in installments. The last 
installment of the several assessments fall due as follows : Of the 
first in 1902; of the second in 1895; of the third in 1896; of the 
fourth in 1900; of the fifth in 1912; of the sixth in 1905. Of the 
first assessment $2L000 of the principal has been paid, $12,000 
of principal will be paid this year (1900), $15,000 in 1901, and the 
balance, $19,000, in 1902. The second and third assessments have 



234 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

f 

beeu fully paid. The last installment ($630) of the fourth assess- 
ment will be paid this year. The sixth assessment is payable in 
tliree installments, of $5',000 each, in 1903, 1904 and 1905. The fifth 
assessment is divided into nine installments, payable each year 
commencing in 1906 and ending in 1912. The policy of the court in 
so adjusting the several assessments was to postpone the heavier 
payments until such time as the owners would be receiving the 
benefits of the woi'k. The amount <lu(' this year, including interest, 
is substantially the same as last. Next year it will be $l.(i00 more 
and in 1902 the climax will be I'eached, the amount then falling due 
with interest being $20 J 40. After that the burden, exclusive of 
interest, which will lessen with every payment, will average about 
$7,000 a year (not taking into account payments made in advance), 
or about 25 per cent more than the rate of 1897. The assessments 
all draw interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum. 

Inasmuch as the payment of the assessments was ])ostponed. 
and it was necessary to have fluids available to pay contractors 
and meet the general expenses of the district, the court directed 
the commissioners to borrow money on the bonds of the district, 
payable out of the several assessments when collected, except the 
last. Of this last assessment $8,945.39 has already been jiaid by 
the landowners and they have received their releases from further 
liability on account of the sixth assessment. 

Six series of bonds have been issued, all bearing interest at 
() per cent per annum. Imt all except the first issue of $6,000 were 
sold at such a premium as in effect reduced the interest much 
below this rate. 

The tax on the lands of the district if distributed equally 
would be apiDroximately five dollars and fifty cents per acre, but 
as the constant effort has been to adjust the load according to 
benefits, many tracts are charged with much more and many much 
less than this. The record shows that the largest total assessment 
paid by any one is ten dollars and forty cents per acre. 

The work of the civil engineers who laid out the ditches and 
supervised their construction has been from the first extremely 
satisfactory. Mr. G. TT. T. Shaw of Dixon succeeded Mr. Hut- 
ledge, and by his aliility and fairness has added to a well earned 
reputation in both respects. 

Josiali Tiittle, the old-time and always reliable banker of Ani- 
])oy, was early appointed treasurer of the district and still securely 
holds the purse, the details of the office being discharged by his 
efficient cashier, Mr. F. N. Yaughan. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 235 

The district lias been fortunate in its comparative immunity 
from litigation. Portentous clouds gatlieied in the early days, 
and various mutterings such as the lawyers of the county com- 
bined were capable of, disturbed the air, but in due time the 
clouds drifted away, the thrcateuiugs subsided, and calm pre- 
vailed. One landowner appealed from the assessment of damages 
awarded him. The contest ended with the verdict of a jury in 
the county court. 

The failure of Glann & McDonald, subcontractors under 
Boyer, to comply with the terms of the contract, and their aban- 
donment of the job leaving workmen and material — men unpaid — 
foiced the commissioners again into court. Something over $2,000 
was due Boyer on final settlement. Glann & McDonald insisted 
that the money should be paid to them, and the people whom they 
owed also contended for it; while Boyer, who was disposed to 
pay the men, but refused to pay the defaulting subcontractors, 
demanded the money. Under this sort of cross-fire the commis- 
sioneis were compelled to bring an interpleader suit in the circuit 
court whereby the rights of the contestants should be deter- 
mined. Glann & McDonald, claiming to be non-residents, removed 
the case to the United States Court in Chicago, where it is still 
pending. 

"Tit extending the ditches beyond the original boundaries of the 
disti let as required hy the court's order of Jan. 7, 1897, it was 
necessai'y to condemn the right of way or acquire it by purchase. 
Not lieing able to come to an agreement with the owner of the 
Bac\gor dam, the destruction of which was necessary, a jury was 
called to assess the damage. Only one other contest has been 
experienced. Indeed it was the only genuine lawsuit in the his- 
tory of the district, and was occasioned by the erection of a tem- 
porary dam at Inlet to produce backwater sufficient to float the 
dredges. A portion of the farm of Austin Willis was overflowed 
and he sued the commissioners personally as well as in their 
official capacit.v for damages. He recovered in the circuit couii, 
but the appellate court reversed the judgiuent and dismissed the 
suit. A. C. Bardwell, of Dixon, has been the attorney for the 
district from the first. The organization was effected, all assess- 
ments were made and all bonds were issued under his direc- 
tion, and he has had charge of whatever litigation has occurred. 
It may be fairly said that he has always faithfully seconded the 
commissioners in their policy of patience and conciliation, by 



236 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

which the district has been safely steered through and beyond 
the shoals of complicating litigation which frequently threat- 
ened it. 

But credit for the successful development of Inlet Swamp 
Drainage Distiict is chiefly due to the court and the commis- 
sioners — a court that had faith in the i^ossibilities of drainage 
and at the same time proper regard for the views of the land- 
owners and commissioners who were steadfast in their purpose to 
accomplish the thorough drainage of the lands of the district. It, 
doubtless, would have been much more economical if the required 
funds had been raised in one or two assessments instead of six, 
and greatly to the benefit of the proprietors if the work as first 
proposed could have all been done under the first contract; but 
conditions which could not be ignored demanded a slower, though 
more expensive process. 

As already noted the first commissioners (the ones who may be 
justly said to have laid the foundations of the work) were E. C. 
Parsons of Dixon, Wesley Steward of Steward and John Nelles 
of Viola. On the organization of the district the court appointed 
William S. Frost of Bradford, Henry B. Cobb of Viola and Wes- 
ley Steward, their successors. Frost was made president and 
Steward secretary. The board as thus constituted continued with- 
out changes until Sept. 12, 1899, when Xavier F. Gehant was ap- 
pointed in Mr. Steward's place, and succeeded him as secretary. 
They have all accoimted to the county court for every dollar of the 
fimds expended by them, and every expenditure, item by item, wiU 
be found spread upon the records of the court, where he may read 
who cai'es. That these several commissioners should each be some- 
what proud of their part in the work as finally consummated is not 
strange. No better nor more enduring monument marks the faith- 
ful services of public officers in Lee county. 

In 1901 the 30,000 acres comprising and bordering the 
old Inlet Swamp will take their place among the most ]iro- 
ductive and valuable agricultural districts in the county to which 
they belong. The only solicitude now to be indulged is that a 
networl-: of drainage on which so much has been expended may not 
be properly cared for. If not kept clear of the industrious and 
prolific willow, and if bars are allowed to form, its service wiU 
rapidly decline and the lands will suffer accordingly. It is to be 
hoped that in maintaining the ditches up to the highest state of use- 
fulness the commissioners will receive the active cooperation of 
all persons interested therein. 




JOHN DIXON 



CHAPTER XVI 

JOHX DIXON 
By Henry S. Dixon 

John Dixon was bom at Rye, Westchester county, New York, 
Oct. 9, 1784. His father, likewise named John Dixon, was a native 
of Newcastle on Tjne, England, and came to America during the 
War of the Revolution as an officer in the British Army. He 
married an American woman named Elizabeth Purdy, and did not 
return to England after the war but remained in Westchester 
county, New York, until his death. It is said that the wife of the 
first John Dixon was disinherited by her parents because of her 
marriage to the British officer. Of this marriage ten children were 
born, viz. : Thomas Dixon, James Dixon, Phoebe Dixon Minuse, 
John Dixon, Elizabeth Dixon Boyd. Margaret L. Dixon, Catherine 
Dixon Fisher and three othei-s whose names are now unknown. 

The birth place of the first American John Dixon was at his 
parent's residence, then on the North Street road, a few rods back 
from the Boston post road, and afterwards known as the "Corn- 
ing" ]U'operty. in the Village of Rye. It is said that the first house 
from the post road, on the northeast side, which was still standing 
as late as 1886 is the identical house in which he was born, but there 
is no certainty as to this. It is certain, however, that it was upon 
this same i:»ropei'ty the house of his birth stood, and the house in 
question is either the Corning cottage or a house remembered by 
old residents of Rye which stood in the hollow behind the bh;ff on 
which the Corning house stands and which was taken down years 
ago. 

John Dixon, married Rebecca Sherwood of Peekskill, N. Y., at 
New York city in ISOS. He had removed from Rye to New York 
city in 1805 and engaged in the business of clothing merchant and 
merchant tailor, his place of business being on Chatham street. He 

237 



2-38 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

was one of the founders of the Young Men's Bible Society of New 
Yorlv, wliicli was organized Feb. 1(J, 18U9. There is still in exist- 
ence a paper in the hand writing of John Dixon, giving the names 
of the first officers of this Society which reads as follows : 

"Members of the Y'oung Men's Bible Society of X. Y. : Cha. C. 
Andrews, president; Griffith P." Griffiths, vice president; Henry 
Johnson, secretary; William Colgate, treasurer; Board of Direc- 
tors, Francis Hall, Edward Gilbert, Jr., John Dixon, Benjamin G. 
Barker, Joseph George, Jr., Charles Mais, Asa Whitney, David 
McClure, Instituted Yeh. 16, 1S09. Mr. Samuel Colgate, No. 55 
John street, N. Y." 

During Ms residence in New York Mr. Dixon became well 
acquainted with Robert Fulton and was one of the party who took 
passage on the Clermont on the occasion of its first trial trip, at 
which time he paid F^ulton one dollar for his fare and which pay- 
ment was without doubt the first money paid by anyone for trans- 
portation as a passenger on a steam driven vessel. 

In 1820 Mr. Dixon sold his business and departed for the West. 
He was accompanied by Mrs. Dixon and their children, James P., 
John W., and Elijah, by his sister Elizal^eth Boyd and her husband 
Charles S. Boyd. The party left New York with a single covered 
wagon drawn by a team, whether of oxen or horses is now imknown, 
although it is a matter of family history that an ox team was the 
motive power, and passing through the States of New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania, in due time reached Pittsburg. The household 
goods of the two families were not taken overland, but were shipped 
by vessel to New Orleans and thence up the Mississippi river to 
Illinois. 

At Pittsburg a flat boat was purchased for the sum of $30. 
They partitioned off a part of the boat for living quarters and 
stored their wagon, oxen or horses and other goods in the other 
part and floated off down stream. When they reached Cincinnati 
they stopped for a short time to rest and purchase provisions, 
among other things getting a barrel of flour at the cost of two 
dollars and sixty-two and one-half cents, as some documents now 
in the possession of the family show. At Cincinnati they engaged 
a pilot to take the boat through the Ohio River rapids, which were 
passed in safety, and Shawneetown, in the State of Illinois, was 
finally reached. The time occupied in the journey from New York 
city to Shawneetown was seventy days. The boat used on the Ohio 
river tri]) was sold for $5 and the party went overland to Madison 
county where they stopped for a time at the place known as the 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 239 

"Maiine Settlement," so called because it was first settled by 
retired sea captains and mates. 

The Marine Settlement was located between the east and west 
forks of Silver creek, in Madison county, about twelve miles east 
of Edwardsville. Here they made inquiry conceiniug the ci»uutry 
and soon went on to a point on Fancy creek in what is now Sanga- 
mon count,v al)out eight miles north of the present city of Spring- 
field and near the present village of Sherman. 

John Dixon and his family remained at this place until 1824. 
Until 1823 the nearest postoffice was Edwardsville, about eighty 
miles distant and the mail for the settlers in that neighboi'hood 
was carried by Mi'. Dixon from Edwai'dsville in a hack which he 
would send down there whenever he could secure a load of pas- 
sengers. 

Sangamon county was established bj' an act of the General 
Assembly passed Jan. 30, 1821, and three county commissioners 
were elected who qualified as such on April 3, 1821. On April 10, 
1821, a comity conmnssioner's couit was held at the house of John 
Kelly, on the waters of Spring creek, at the present site of the city 
of Springfield. Mr. Dixon was the foreman of the first grand Jury 
iui})aiieled in this county after its organization, at the court held 
at the Kelly house. 

Soon thereafter Peoria county was organized embracing all of 
the teri'itory in the northern part of the state. Judge Sawyer in 
the year 1825 re(]uested Mr. Dixon to take the appointment of 
circuit clerk of that county, which he did and became the first 
incumbent of that office. About the same time he was appointed 
by Governor Coles as recorder of deeds of that county and he 
removed to what was then called Fort Clark, now Peoiia. While 
living there he was elected justice of the peace of Peoria county 
and duly commissioned by Gov. Niuian Edwards, his commission 
as such, which is still in existence, being dated Sept. 6, 1827. 

While living at Peoria, Mr. Dixon became a rather extensive 
contractor for the carrying of the mails and there is still in exist- 
ence a copy of a settlement made by him with Col. E. B. Clemson 
for services rendered in such matters which reads as follows: 

"Lebanon, Jan. 23, 1830. 

"E. B. Clemson, to John Dixon, Dr. 

"For carrying the mail on Route 529, from 
Springfield to Peoria, for the quarter end- 
ing Sept. 30, 1829, at $500 per annum $125 . 00 



240 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

"For ditto on Route 530, from Peoria to 
Galena, for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 
at $900 per annum 225 .00 

"For ditto on Route 142, from Danville to 
F^ort Clark, for the quarter ending Sept. 
30, at $300 per annum 75.00 



II 



n 



$425.00 
Cr. 

By payments made up to this date $192 . 32 

By land script to be remitted to said Dixon 
at Springfield, say on or before the 31st 
instant 160.00 



$352.32 
Balance due $ 72 . 68 



u 



II 



To my order on Governor Edwards at sight 

in full of said account $ 72 . 68 

"Settled Jan. 23, 1830, 

"E. B. Clemson." 

Duiiug the period covered by his mail contracts Mr. Dixon 
sometimes did the carrying himself, but the greater part of the 
driving was done by men hired by him for that purpose and by 
his sons, particularly his son, James P. Dixon. 

The only river of any inq)nrtance between Peoria and Galena 
was the Rock river. This offered a great obstacle to the carrying 
of the mail and in order to afford safe passage it was desirable that 
a ferry Ix' maintained. In the year 1827 a man by the name of J. L. 
Bogardus of Peoria, established a ferry across this stream at the 
present site of the city of Dixon, but he I'emained only a short time, 
when he was driven away by the Indians. 

There was even at that early date a considerable travel from 
Port Clark to the lead mines at Galena and the Indians resented 
the intrusion of the white man who would take away from them 
the fei'ry monopoly that they then had. Bogardus had built a log 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 241 

hut said to have been about 8x10 feet in dimension and two work- 
men employed by him had the ferry boat nearly completed when 
the Indians attacked them and burned their boat, the workmen 
leaving the country without any delay. 

In 1828 a French Indian half-breed named Joseph Ogee erected 
a cabin on the bank of the river at the present site of Dixon and 
operated a ferry there until 1830. Ogee's wife was a half-breed 
Pottawatomie woman by the name of Madeline. She was the 
daughter of a Ih'enchman named LaSallier, who was probably the 
first white man to make his home on the banks of the Rock river. 
LaSallier built a trading post on the south side of what is now 
known as the Franklin creek, about thirty or thirty-five I'ods from 
the Rock river. This point is in Lee county and across the river 
from the present village of Grand Detour and about five miles 
northeast of the city of Dixon. The ruins of this cabin were visible 
as late as 1835, when they were observed by Joseph Crawford, one 
of the early settlers of Dixon. LaSallier was one of the agents of 
the American Fur Company. 

Joseph Ogee, the son-in-law of LaSallier is known to have been 
in Illinois as early as in 1823, on June 4 of which year he obtained 
a license from J'ulton county to operate a tavern. He lived in 
Peoria in March, 1825, and owned the house in which the county 
commissioners of that county held their first meeting. He was on 
the first panel of petit jui'ors of that county and is believed to have 
been the representative of the American Fur Company, at its 
trading house at what is now Wesley City. 

In the spring of 1828 Ogee came to the Rock river. His wife 
being of Indian blood he was permitted to establish and operate his 
ferry without being molested or driven away as Bogardus and his 
employees had been. 

Ogee continued to operate the ferry alone until Nov. 21, 1829, 
when he sold a half interest therein to George Schelleiiger,,who is 
described as a resident of Jo Daviess county, for which Schelleuger 
paid $700, and they became partneis in the enterprise and remained 
such for a few weeks. On Jan. 29, 1830, the partnership was dis- 
solved and Ogee bound himself to i>s.y to Schellenger $1,060 for 
his half interest in the establishment, to be paid $100 in thirty days, 
$60 on or before the first of the next September, $400 in twelve 
months and $500 in two years, and gave to the latter his chattel 
mortgage on the ferry premises, which mortgage was filed in the 
office of the recorder of Jo Daviess county at Galena on Feb. 18, 
1830, and recorded in Book A, pages 71, 72 and 73. 



242 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Eudorsed on the back of the mortgage was an assignment by 
Schellenger to Laurent Rolette for an expressed consideration of 
$900. There also appears on the same instrument an undated 
receijit, signed by Laurent Rolette and Joseph Rolette, by J. P. 
Nash, their attorney in fact, acknowledging receipt from John 
Dixon of the sum of $400 by note at ninety days "in full satisfac- 
tion and liquidation of the within mortgage." 

In 1828 Mr. Dixon with his family left Peoria and located at 
what was called Boyd's Gi'ove in what is now Bureau county, where 
they made their Ikjuic near the family of his brother-in-law, Charles 
S. Boyd, until their removal to the present site of the city of Dixon. 

In March, 1830, Mr. Dixon made a lease of the ferry from Ogee 
with its rights, privileges and appiu'tenances and soon thereafter 
moved to Ogee's Ferry, as it was then called, with his wife and 
family, reaching there Apiil 11, 1830. He continued to operate 
the ferry mader this lease until Jan. 27, 1832, when he purchased 
it for the sum of $550, giving to Ogee two notes, one for $150 and 
one for $100, lioth due in four montlis after date and assmning the 
lien of the Schellenger moi'tgage. The deed conveying the ferry 
property was filed for reccn'd in the office of the recorder of Jo 
Daviess county and I'ccorded in Book A, pages 163 and 164, on 
March 1, 1832". 

Ogee at a))out the time he jourchased the Schellenger interest 
in the ferry was evidently Ijeing pressed by his creditors for there 
is still in existence anothei' chattel mortgage given by him. This 
mortgage is dated Feb. 10, 1830, and conveys to Laurent Rolette 
to secure a debt of the firm of Ogee & Schellenger amounting to 
the sum of $258.02 and the individual debt of Ogee to Rolette of 
$84.35, the following property belonging to Ogee, to-wit: "The 
equal and undivided half of a team of five horses, waggon and 
harnis of the value of $250 (the other half of said team, waggon 
and harnis being held by a cimelar artical to this by the firm of 
Henry Gratiot and company) * * * ^^^^ .^Ij,^ four fethei- beds 
and beding complete, towit, one pair of sheets, one pair of pillows 
and slips, one blanket, one quilt and stand of curtains to each bed 
and each bed of the value of eighteen dollars and fifty nine cents, 
one whipsaw of the value of twelve dollars and one cross cut saw 
of the value of six dollars." 

Ogee remained in the neighborhood of the Rock river for a few 
years after selling the ferry as is evidenced by charges against him 
for goods purchasiid of John Dixon and noted in his account book 
which is in the writer's possession, luider date of May 13 and June 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 243 

3, 1832. Later than the last date his history and future where- 
abouts are now unknown. 

The entry in question is found at page 52 of the account book 
and reads as follows : 

"Jos. Ogee — Dr. 

"1832. 

"May 13, To boarding $2.75 

1/4 lb. tea 371/2 

"June 3rd, To 2 lbs. beeswax 371/2 

1 sack 25 

Tin beeswax and nails to mend canoe. ... 1 .00" 

Ogee had built a log cabin near the ferry landing, and Mr. Dixon 
after his arrival added to the building. The ferry landing as oper- 
ated by both Ogee and Dixon was at what is now the foot of Peoria 
avenue in the city of Dixon. The log house stood about three hun- 
dred feet south of the river bank near the present intersection of 
Peoria avenue and Pii'st street and Tipon what is now lots 5 and 6 
in block 7 of the original town of Dixon. 

The log cabin was in two parts, a one-story structure erected by 
Ogee and a two-story portion built by Mr. Dixon. Between the two 
houses and forming a part of the one-story building was a ten or 
twelve-foot hallway with a door at either end, facing the north and 
south. Entering the hall from the south, on the west was the 
family sitting room and on the east the travelers' and hired helps' 
I'ooms, each about eighteen feet square. The furniture of the west 
room consisted of two beds, a niunber of chairs and a table extend- 
ing nearly across the room. The east room contained four beds, 
one in each corner. Father Dixon lived hei'e luitil 1836 or 1837 
when he moved to a house which stood a few rods southeast of the 
present location of the Chicago & Northwestern railway station. 
The original log cabin stood until 1845. when it was destroyed. 

The stoi'e room in which he ti'aded with the Indians was in the 
east part of the cabin, in the two-story 2)()rtion, and there he sold 
powder, lead, shot, tobacco, pipes, cloth, blankets, guns, beads, 
traps, etc., or exchanged them for furs and deer skins, which he 
would ship to St. Louis, Peoria or Galena. 

When John Dixon reached the Rock river and established his 
house at Ogee's fei'ry he was forty-six years of age, strong, hearty, 
vigorous and thoroughly acquainted with the frontier. He had 



244 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

had ten years experience in the West. He had traveled the then 
new State of Illinois from one end to the other on horseback and on 
foot. He had met and lived with and among the Indians, had be- 
come their friend, and was recognized by them as such. Though in 
the prime of life and in the best of health his hair was white and 
was worn long, giving him the appearance of age. The Winnebago 
Indians, with whom he was always on terms of friendship, called 
him, "Nada-chu-ra-sah," or "Head-hair- white," which term in 
common speech was soon contracted to "Nachusa." The early 
white settlers not long after Mr. Dixon 's arrival at the Rock river 
began to call him "Father" Dixon and from thence on he was so 
termed and in speaking of him since his death it is usual to so char- 
acterize him. An old friend and early settler, John K. Robison 
said : "His personal appearance was almost unchanged from 1827 
to 1876, his hair being white during all those years; age dealt 
kindly with him." 

In addition to operating the fei'ry Mr. Dixon carried on the 
business of an Indian trader, exchanging blankets, knives, guns, 
powder, traps, cloth and other necessaries for furs and selling or 
trading such articles to the white settlers as well. He also con- 
ducted a tavern in his cabin and kept overnight the travelers to 
and from the Galena lead miues. 

In 1827 or 1828 Charles S. Boyd and his family moved from 
Springfield to Boyd's Grove in the present county of Bureau and 
about the same time O. W. Kellogg and family settled first at Kel- 
logg's Grove in Stephenson county ; later at Buffalo Grove, in order 
to be near the Dixons. Buffalo Grove is now a part of the town of 
Polo, Ogle county and twelve miles from Dixon. The Dixon, Boyd 
and Kellogg families were the first permanent white settlers in the 
territory between Peoria and Galena. After that settlers became 
more nmnerous, a few locating in the neighborhood of the ferry 
and others at eligible spots in the neighboring country. 

Ogee's settlement was first known as Ogee's Ferry and a post- 
office by that name established, a man by the name of Gay being 
the first postmaster. Mr. Dixon was appointed postmaster of 
Ogee's Ferry by commission dated Sept. 29, 1830. Afterwards 
in 1834 the name was changed to Dixon's Ferry and he was 
appointed postmaster of that place and served as postmaster until 
1837. 

The log cabin of his son James P. Dixon, which stood on the 
south side of First street between Galena avenue and Ottawa ave- 
nue and which was built in 1834 was for many years, in part used 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ^ 245 

as a postoffice. It had a room built on the side as a " lean-to ' ' about 
10x30 feet, where the postoffice was kept. Before that time the 
postoffice was at the John Dixon cabin. 

Reference is several times made in this sketch to John Dixon 's 
aceoimt book. Two books were kept by him and are still in exist- 
ence. One is an account of sales and other transactions with the 
Indians and whites and begins very soon after he settled on the 
Rock river. The entries in the other book are principally during 
and immediately after the Black Hawk war period. 

The first entry in the older of the two books is as follows : 

"Wm. Kirkpatrick, Dr. 

"1830. 

"April 29, Self and horse one night and fer- 
riage N 1.25 

"May 10, Same S 1.25 

"Oct. 21, Self and father in-law and horses, 

one night and ferriage 2.50 

"Led horse ferriage and keeping and 2 buck- 
skins 2.75 



$8.25" 



The name of Joseph Ogee appears frequently in this book the 
first entry under date of April 29, lcS30, with many others on pages 
27-28, 47 and 48, and the aggregate charges against him for goods 
sold and money advanced being in excess of $500. Ogee evidently 
had a family as is evidenced by a charge of for "214 yds. lining for 
children clothes 50e," "2 caps for sons $2.50," "2 pr. shoes for sons 
$2," "2 pr. socks for sons 75c," "2 pr. mittens for sons 75c," "cash 
to Margaret to go to Fort $2. ' ' 

It appears that in those days muskrat skins were of consider- 
able value as on June 28, 1830 (Book p. 16), Mr. Dixon sold forty 
skins at 20 cents each to H. B. Stillman and on Aug. 22, 1830, sold 
eighty-five more to the same person at 15 cents each and on Sept. 
20, 300 more for $60. 

The usual charge for ferrying of a man and horse, as shown 



246 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

by frequent entries on the book was 25 cents, for each meal 25 cents 
and for a night's lodging the same amount. 

By this book it seems (p. 24 j that on Sept. 10, 1830, he loaned 
to J. M. Strode, who was a character of some note in those days 
the sum of $5 and afterwards on Oct. 20, made a charge against 
him of (j21a. cents for dinner, horse feed and ferriage. There are 
no credits of payment of this account and indeed a large number of 
the accounts seem to be still due and unpaid. 

On page 45 is found a record of a sale of furs to P. Menard, Jr., 
unde r date of May 30, 1831, as follows : 3 " rats " 4 " auter, ' ' 5 coon, 
6 mink and "bunch rabit." 

There are a large number of entries of this character. "July 
10, 1831, Edward Hall Dr. Ferriage of waggon, four yoke of oxen 
and one hors $2.75. Cr. By cash\$1.00." 

Many traveleis weie apparently ferried across the river and 
paid but a part of the bill as money was scarce and he took the 
chances of being paid the remainder some other day. 

The last half of this book is made up of charges against the 
Indians for goods sold to them, among the names of those with 
whom he dealt are : 

Patchunka Chief Crane. 

Old Quaker. 

Old Blue Socks son. 

Old Grey Headed Pottawatomie. 

Old Gray Heads fat son. 

Tall rawboued Pottawatomie who came with the gambler. 

Old White Head Pottawatomie's son. 

Tall Pottawatomie. 

Plump F^ace. 

American Woman. 

Chief Jarro. 

Gi'cat Dancer. 

Man That Has A Sick Squaw. 

Wa-Wa-Cockera. 

Crane's son. 

Daddy Walker. 

Mother Flat Face. 

Ho-we-kah. 

Ouc-oye Old INlau that come with Crane. 

A Young Yellow Ma7i. 

Chief Crane's brother. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 247 

Blinky. 

Raw Boned Black Pace Stayed A Long Time. 

Ijimpy. 

J arro 's oldest son. 

Old Blue Coat Man Came Witli Teabon. 

Young Part White Squaw. 

Yellow That Came With The Blind Man. 

Sour Eads Ox. 

Pasehehunk. 

Squirrel Cheeks. 

Preacher. 

Good Singer 

Yellow Lad. 

Blinky 's brother 

Jarro's second son. 

Long Sober Man. 

Daddy Walker. 

The name of Chief Jari'o is fovuid tiie most of an,y and from 
the account it would seem that the chief has credit for having paid 
for what he purchased. 

The following extracts are typical of the entries of the pur- 
chases made by the Indians. 

"W. Lock old man (Ogee says he is good) 

1 Spear $6 

1 Steel 1 

Corn 1 

2 shirts 6 

Beads 2 

2 knives 2 

Corn 2 

1 gun 50 

Mending ax 2 

Corn 2 

"Fat squaw many beads 

Due on shirt $ 2 



248 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

"Patchimka Chief Crane 

Blue cloth $20 

Red clo 25 

2 shirts 6 

Beads 2 

Tobacco 1 

Powder 8 

2 combs 2 

2 spears 10 

Paiut 2" 

The other account book begins in 1832 and covers a period of 
three or four years. 

One of the names found most frequently in this book, as well as 
occasionally in the other one, is that of Col. William S. Hamilton, 
the son of Alexander Hamilton. Colonel Hamilton's account 
begins with Jvdy, 1832, extends to as late as May, 1835, at which 
date he apparently owed Mr. Dixon $339.55 and which, at least as 
far as the book shows, yet remains unpaid. This bill embraces 
charges for cash loaned, foi' ferriage and for corn, pork, tin buck- 
ets, tents, flour, postage, bacon, buckskins, and other items. 

H. Gratiot has also an extensive account, among other things 
in 1832, purchasing 853 "rats" at 25 cents each. Mr. Dixon also 
makes a charge against him as follows (p. 31) : 

"To sending to the Illinois Rivei' for two stray 
horses and bridles, etc. and sending them 
home $10." 

On May 10 and 15, 1832. Col. Zachary Taylor incurred a bill 
amounting to $11.50, of which only one item is stated, namely: 
4 shirt patterns $5. The shirt patterns charge is mai'ked out, as 
was Mr. Dixon's custom in giving credit, but the I'emainder of the 
bill is footed up at $6.50 and marked "settled by note." 

A great many entries are found of goods fui-nished to the army 
during the Black Hawk war, for instance, among the charges on 
Mav 20. 1832, being the following: 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 249 

"Col. Johnson for U. S. Gen. Atkinson Qr. M. 

43 blankets at 4 dollars $172.00 

2 do. at 3.50 14.00 

12 do. green at 6.50 78.00 

2 guns at $8 10.00 

1 rifle at 20 20.00 

11 blankets at 3 33.00 

7 do. at 2.50 17.50 

5 do. at 2 10.00 



$360.50" 

THE CHILDREN OF JOHN AND REBECCA DIXON 

John and Rebecca Dixon wei'e the parents of twelve children. 
The names of bnt five of these twelve are now known and a most 
diligent investigation fails to disclose the names of the remaining 
seven, or anything of historical value conceiving them. 

The oldest child was James Pnrdy Dixon. He was boi'n at New 
York city on March (J, 1811. and came to Illinois with his parents 
and continued to reside in this state imtil liis death, wliidi occnrred 
at Dixon on April 5, 1853. He was married to Fa)mie Reed at 
Buffalo Grove, Jo Daviess county. Illinois, Dec. 7, 1834. Fannie 
Reed, who was the daughter of Samuel Reed, was born at Middle- 
ton, Delaware county, New York, July 23, 1815, and died at Chi- 
cago, Illinois, Feb. 15, 1898. They were the parents of eight 
children. 

Another son was John W. Dixon, who was born in New York 
city in 1816 and died at Dixon, Illinois, March 19. 1847. He mar- 
ried Elizabeth A. Sherwood at Dixon in 1839. She was born in 
New York city on Jan. 12, 1819, and died at Dixon, Jan. 27, 1895. 
They were the parents of three children. 

Elijah Dixon was the third son of John Dixon and was bom 
at New York city in 1817 and died at Janesville, Wisconsin, of 
pnenmonia, on March 15, 1843. He had never married. 

Franklin Dixon died at the age of sixteen at his parents' home 
in Dixon. Both the dates of his birth and death are unknown. 

Mary L. Dixon, a daughter, the date of whose birth cannot be 
ascertained, mari'ied Isaac S. Boardman at Dixon in 1840, and died 
in 1850. They were the parents of three children. 



250 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Two cbildren, wliose names or ages can not be ascertained, died 
at Galena during the Black Hawk war. 

A girl wliose name cannot be learned died of scarlet fever at the 
age of tliree and one-half years while the family w^ere living on 
what was afterwards known as the "Doctor Everett Farm" on the 
north side of the river, a short distance west of the city of Dixon. 

In addition to the foregoing, fonr other children were born of 
this marriage whose names or places of birth or death have long 
ago been forgotten and of whom no record now remains. 

In arldition to the foregoing, practically nothing is now known 
or can be learned as to the life of John Dixon prior to the time 
when he and his family settled at Dixon's Ferry. Subsequent 
to that time for many years he was a historic character in Illinois. 
His log cal;)in home on the banks of Rock liver was an open house 
for all kinds of j^eople, Indian and white, pioneers, settlers, adven- 
turers, indeed for all of the persons whom business, pleasure or 
love of the wilderness brought to the frontier. He operated the 
ferry, kejDt a tavern, acted as postmaster, was a guide, Indian 
trader, and in general was the leading character and first citizen 
of this part of Illinois. 

During the early years of his life here there were no neighbors 
but the Indians, and the strangers passing through the country 
were piincipally en route to the lead mines in the vicinity of Galena. 
During this period he traded extensively with the Indians, exchang- 
ing guns, ammunition, cloth, knives, axes, and other necessaries 
of life, for furs. This continued imtil after the Black Hawk war. 
Prior to the outbreak of this war he had established himself in the 
confidence of his Indian neighbors to such an extent that there was 
but little or no danger of harm to himself or his family even though 
the Indians might have been disposed to do violence to the whites 
in general. When Black Hawk and his followers went up the river 
immediately before the battle at Stillman's creek, they stopped at 
Dixon's Perry and Black Hawk with others of his followers had 
dinner at Dixon's home, under the following circumstances: 

Mr. Dixon wvas at Galena, having gone there before he knew 
that there was any probability of their leaving the vicinity of Rock 
Island. Mrs. Dixon was at home alone with their children. The 
Indians crowded in, filling the house. She sent for Old Crane, a 
Winnebago chief. He immediately came to her assistance and 
with the aid of Wischick, one of the chiefs of the Sacs and Poxes, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 251 

got the intruders out of the house. At the suggestion of Old Crane, 
Mrs. bixon prepared a meal for the chiefs of the Sacs and Foxes 
and he, Black Hawk, Wischick and Kaapapi had their diiuier 
while the remainder of the band went into camp at the large spring 
on the south bank of the river nearly opposite the present site of 
the iJixon waterworks. 

Afterwards it was thought desirable for Mi-s. Dixon and her 
children to go to (ialena and remain until peace had been restored, 
and she did so. J()hn Dixon remained at the ferry for a time and 
later on went with the army into Wisconsin and acted as com- 
missary, scout and otherwise until the close of hostilities. During 
this campaign he was in the pei'sonal service of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Tayloi' and messed with him and his officers. During this period 
two of the small children of Mi-, and Mrs, Dixon, whose names 
cannot now be learned, died at Galena. 

The Dixon home at the ferry was not closed during all of this 
period, however. Mrs. Dixon was there during a portion of the 
time and their sons, James and Elijah, were there or in the vicinity, 
so that the doors were constantly open for the entertainment and 
care of those who came. JNIany men of note during that period and 
others whose names are found on the pages of subsequent history 
spent days and sometimes weeks at this frontier cabin. Gov. John 
Reynolds, CJeneral Atkinson and Lieut.-Gol. Zachary Taylor were 
the leaders at that time, and among the many others of later note 
were the then Lieut. Jefferson Davis, Capt. and Private Abraham 
Lincoln, Lieut. Robert Anderson, Edward D. Baker, Albert Sid- 
ney Johnston, Gen.- Wiufield Scott and his aid, Lieut. Joseph E. 
Johnston. In later years many of those whose names are men- 
tioned in telling of their experiences in those days have related 
their kindly feeling and gratitude towaixls Father Dixon for his 
kindness to them while they were at his home. 

John K. Rolnson in an article entitled "Early Times at Dixon's 
Ferr}^" published in 1880, has to say: 

"While Father Dixon carried the United States mail from 
Spring-field to Galena the streams were unbridged, not even 'cor- 
duroyed ; ' swamps imdrained ; roads almost impassable ; houses few 
and far between. Snow storms were moi'e severe and the cold more 
intense than in later years. In the winter of 1830 and '31 (the 
winter of the deep snow) the snow averaged three feet deep from 
New Year's day to the 15th of March. No track was kept open 
from one settlement to another, and it was with great difficulty 
that roads were kept open even in densely settled districts. Fifteen 
and eighteen to twenty-seven miles were the usual distances 
between the homes along the route. On one of the longer routes 



252 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

during this memoi'able winter, FatLer Dixon and some of the stage 
passengers were so benumbed with cold and nearly frozen, as to be 
unable to get out of the conveyance. After a good warnung and hot 
coffee, however, all were able to resume their journey. 

"During the Black Hawk war Father Dixon had the contract 
for supplying the army with beef to the time of the final battle of 
the Bax Axe liver. His place on the march was in the rear of the 
arm}', and from the time Wisconsin liver was crossed many times 
he was left so far beliind as to be out of supporting distance. It so 
happened on the march, that at one time midnight was passed 
before he came to camp. He was hailed by the sentinel with the 
snap of the lock of the gun in the sentinel's hands, and these words : 
'Who comes there?' Father Dixon replied: 'Major of the Steer 
Battalion.' The soldier gave the order: 'Major of the Steer 
Battalion, march in. ' This sally of wit on both sides was the found- 
ation of Father Dixon's military title. Another time he had been 
off the tj'ail hunting one of his beeves, and on again returning to 
the trail he suddenly found himself face to face with two Indians, 
who were as much astonished at the meeting as he was. It was no 
time for ceremony. All were armed; Father Dixon lowered his 
gun, and walking about five rods, gave his hand to the nearest 
savage, saluting him in Winnebago. The Indian replied in Win- 
nebago. Father Dixon and both the Indians were alike overjoyed 
at this unexpected good fortune — Father Dixon, that he was per- 
mitted to save his scalp for another day ; the Indians that they had 
found some one understanding their own language, under whose 
influence they coidd safely be introduced to General Atkinson, for 
whom they had important dispatches. Their life was in danger if 
seen by a soldier, and they felt their peril and were in serious 
embarrassment about how to approach the army. 

"Father Dixon's age, and experience witli all classes of men, 
should have qualified him to safely criticise and distrust humanity, 
but ho had no apprehension of imposition ; he took human nature 
as it foil from the hands of the infinite God. His estimate never 
tallied with the evil; never tired of being wronged, and as a con- 
sequence he was often disappointed in men. Obliging to all, hos- 
pitable and kind to the needy and helpless in every condition, he 
often trusted strangers and travelei's from whom he never received 
anything in return. It was no luuisual thing, when the circum- 
stances of travelers were told Father Dixon, for him to allow his 
ferry and hotel bills to remain impaid. and to give them pro^dsions 
and funds necessary to complete the journey — many dollars were 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 253 

giveu away in tliis manner. His unselfishness manifested itself 
in good will to all men ; the Indian or the child looked to him for 
favors and kindness and was not turned away empty. 

"Mrs. Dixon was one of the few women, who could and did 
adorn any position in life in which she was placed. Her person 
was rather under size, exhibiting no marked peculiarity. She was 
intelligent far above the age and circumstances surrounding her, 
and had a warm heart and ready hand for every good word and 
work alike. Devout and fervent in all the holy exercises of I'eligiou 
and morality; ardently attached to the church to which she 
belonged, she gave her hand to all who bore the name and character 
of that great Christian body. Her moral worth, talents, virtue 
and her whole life, was one of devotion to Christianity. She was 
Solomon's ideal of glorious womauhuod before he was corrupted 
by the false glare and glitter of a false religion and an impure life. 
I record her life as the one to whom I owe more than any other, 
except mother and wife. As an early reminiscence of Mrs. Dixon's 
rare tact and knowledge of character, shall I venture to write that 
in the dead of winter, preceding the Black Hawk war, the Prophet 
from Prophetstown, Black Hawk, and a chief from Rock 
Island whose name I have forgotten, held a council at Dixon's 
Ferry, and then and there negotiated with the Pottawatomies for 
the occupancy of the Spotted Arms' town near the present site of 
Rockford. Meal time came three times a day, to which the chiefs 
at the Comieil fire were invited as guests of Mrs. Dixon. She pre- 
sided as waiter, and to allay any fears of her guests, sat down and 
ate and drank with them. The perfect lady was reminded by Black 
Hawk as spokesman, of her goodness, and he called the attention 
of the other chiefs to 'her care and politeness to them.' " 

Many years afterwards a bill was pending in the Senate to 
award Mr. Dixon a quarter section of land for services rendered 
during this war. Some opposition was encountered and Senator 
Jefferson Davis taking part in the debate did much towards secur- 
ing the passage of the measure. The following extract from the 
debate in the Senate indicates very clearly that Senator Davis and 
Senator Trumbidl felt well acquainted with the services rendered 
by Mr. Dixon in the early days : 

"Mr. L;\T;nan Trumbull : I ask that that bill may be put on its 
passage. I will remark that the chairman of the committee on 
public lands, with whom I had a conversation, stated that he 
reported adversely on this bill to gi'ant a land warrant to Mr. 
Dixon, for the reason that the testimony before the committee did 



254 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

not seem to be sufficient of his liaving rendered any service. He 
was not enlisted in the service, but he ijerfornied valuable service 
in the Black Hawk war — furnished supplies, aud acted as a guide 
and interpreter. He is an old man over eighty years of age, and 
is now in very reduced circumstances. Some of his friends have 
made this a^jplication to get the old man a land warrant; aud he 
comes, 1 think, within the spirit of the law. The Senator from Mis- 
sissippi (Mr. Jefferson Davis) who served in that war, knows 
him personally, and perhaps he would make a statement to the 
Senate of his knowledge of the services for which it is proposed to 
grant a land warrant to this poor old man. 

"Mr. Jefferson Davis: As stated by the Senator from Illinois, 
1 do know this individual personally, and believe him to be a very 
honest man, and I should have great confidence in his statements. 
He was one of the first jDioueers in the country near what is now 
the town of Dixon, formerly known as Dixon's Ferry. He lived 
there in an isolated position when J first knew him. His house 
was reached by crossing a wide prairie country inhabited only by 
Indians. He was of great service in the first settlement of the 
country. He was of service to the troops when they ascended the 
Rock liiver in the Black Hawk War. F'or some time a post was 
established at or near his house. He was of service at that time 
furnishing sui^plies and giving information in regard to the coun- 
try, and afterwards taking care of the sick. In a liberal S])irit 
towards camp followers, we have since that time provided for 
packmen, for teamsters, and for clerks, giving them bounty land 
warrants equally with the soldiers who were serving in the same 
campaign. I think the only objection in this case is the want of 
testimony; but I have such confidence in the individual together 
with my recollection of the circumstances, that I would say that 
he was within the spirit of the law, and I should be glad because of 
his many services in the first settlement of that country, to see him 
thus rewarded." 

In 1834 a Government survey was made of the present township 
of Dixon and shortly thereafter Mr. Dixon entered from the Gov- 
ernment and afterwards acquired patents to the lands now com- 
prising the "original town" of Dixon and the "original town" of 
North Dixon. 

In 1835 at his request, a survey and plat of the town of Dixon 
was made by a man by the name of Bennett, of Galena, and the 
original plat filed at Galena which was the county seat, Dixon then 
being a part of Jo Daviess county. This survey included about 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 255 

forty acres of land extending from Rock river to one-half block 
south of Third street and from one-half block east of Ottawa 
a> euue to one-half block west of Peoria avenue. 

Afterwards, in the year 1840, a new survey and plat of the 
'•original town" of Dixon was made by Joseph Crawford at the 
request of John Dixon, Smith Gilbraith, and S. M. Bowman and 
Lane, who owned the laud which was thus subdivided, and this plat 
is the one that was subsequently used in the conveyance of town 
lots. In 1842 Mr. Dixon had Joseph Crawford survey and lay out 
the town of North Dixon on laud belonging to him on the north side 
of the river. 

The tracts now occupied by the courthouse square, market 
squaie and John Dixon Park were dedicated by him to public 
use and many lots now of great value were given away by 
him to settlers. When the first courthouse was built in Dixon, in 
addition to furnishing the site, he donated eighty acres of land 
which was sold and the proceeds used in helping to erect the build- 
ing. Other lots were sold at small prices so as to induce settlement 
and building until finally he liad disposed of practically all that he 
owned without any particular profit to himself. 

In 1838 after a general system of internal improvements was 
adopted by the state, Mr. Dixon was appointed by Governor Dun- 
can as one of the board of commissioners to fill a vacanc_y caused 
by the death of Colonel Stephenson and subsequently he was 
elected by the Legislature as a member of the board. 

The State of Illinois entered into an extensive scheme of public 
improvement, consisting largel}^ in the construction of railioad 
and of river improAements in aid of navigation. A railroad 
through the state was projected which, among other places, was to 
run via Dixon, Elkhorn Grove, and Savanna to Galena. A vast 
amount of work was laid out and but little completed, although a 
debt of over ten million dollars was incurred by the state. 

Prom Galena to Savanna much of the grading for the proposed 
railroad was completed. Mr. Dixon as commissioner had charge 
of the payment of the wages of the men engaged on this work in 
northern Illinois and it was his duty to get the money at Spring- 
field and bring it or cause it to be brought to the place where the 
men were employed. 

He drew a draft for $11,500 on the Treasurer at Springfield 
and intrusted it to a man by the name of Hamlin for collection. 
Hamlin made the collection and immediately absconded. Hamlin 
was pursued for weeks by James P. Dixon, Elijah Dixon and 



256 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Smith Gilbraitli and tiually captured at Baltimore, Maryland, but 
when arrested had disposed of the money. John JJixon in the 
meantime had made up the loss with his own funds and was never 
reimbursed for the loss. 

In 1840 Mr. Dixon went to Washington to make application 
for the removal of the United States land office from Galena to 
Dixon and through the intiuence of his friends there with whom 
he had become acquainted in the Black Hawk war times he was 
presented to President Van Buren and secured the order for the 
removal of the office. 

An instance of his courage and self-possession is told in connec- 
tion with the early history of Ogle county. In 1838 in what is now 
the town of Pine Creek, in Ogle county, a claim had been "jumped" 
by some men who had no right of jiossession of the property. 
Coui'ts were scarce, the law did not always afford a prompt and 
certain remedy for wrongs suffered, and, as a consequence, the well 
disposed and honest people of the frontier as it then was were 
obliged to enforce the law themselves without the aid of the proc- 
esses of the courts. 

The claim had been taken possession of by a party of men with 
a known reputation as lawbreakers and whose names are familiar 
to those acquainted with the annals of the "Banditti of the Prai- 
rie." They were uotorit)Us characters and had built a log house 
with loopholes for theii' rifles and had laid in a supply of j^rovi- 
.sions and numbered ten or twelve of the worst characters of the 
coimtry. 

It was thought necessary for the peace and security of the 
neighborhood that they be captured and their I'cndezvous 
destroyed. 

Under Mr. Dixon's leadership a force was organized. The 
body met at Washington Grove, about two miles distant from the 
cabin. The men in the party gathered fi'om Dixon, Grand Detour 
and Oregon, among those from Dixon being John Dixon, his son, 
James P. Dixon, Smith Gilbraitli and others. They were armed 
with guns and axes and when they approached the fortified cabin 
were warned by the inmates that if they advanced beyond a cer- 
tain limit they would be shot. 

At this challenge John Dixon and Hugh Moore of Grand 
Detour volunteered to break in the door and they ran past the dead 
line up to the cabin itself, reaching it without injury. Dixon and 
Moore battered down the door of the cabin and the other membei's 
of their party coming up attacked the walls and roof, pulling them 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 257 

down. The men inside seeing that it would be useless to continue 
the tight, surrendered, the building was torn to pieces and burned 
and its inmates escorted out of the county. 

On another occasion a few years afterwards four men took 
possession of a log cabin standing upon a preemjjtion claim belong- 
ing to another person near the place where the Chicago and North- 
western Railway Company station at Dixon now stands. A party 
armed with rifles went to dispossess them. Mr. Dixon went with 
the party but was armed only with his pipe. The men inside of 
the cabin were armed and threatened violence. Mr. Dixon alone 
walked up to the door of the cabin and was told to leave or he 
would be shot. However, he held his ground and through much 
patience and persuasion and long pipe smoking finally induced the 
inmates to surrender. 

Immediately after coming to Ogee's Fei'ry Mr. Dixon found 
that the Indians were drinking whiskev to excess and he interested 
himself in their behalf by attempting to discourage that practice. 
He had ardent supporters among some of the Indian leaders and 
equally as determined enemies. One of the latter named Dah- 
Shun-Egra, while drunk, attacked and attempted to kill him with 
a muskrat spear. Dixon stood his ground and after a struggle dis- 
ai'med the Indian, although for a time in great peiil. His coolness 
at this time of danger and his evident willingness to hglit when 
necessary gave him a high standing for courage with the Indians. 

Mr. Dixon in his early life was a whig Init l)ecame a republican 
when that party was formed. He attended the first republican 
convention at Bloomington in 18-56 and made a si^eech at the con- 
vention at the time of the organization of the party. 

The last pul^lic office held by him was that of president of the 
board of trustees of the town of Dixon. On March 7, 185'^. he 
was elected as one of the trustees of the town and was by the 
trustees chosen as president of the board, and served as such for 
one year. 

Mrs. Dixon died on Feb. 11, 1847, and their son John W. Dixon 
died but a few days thereafter, on March 19, 1847. The oldest son, 
James P. Dixon, died on April 5, 1853. His decease left John 
Dixon childless. The father of twelve children he had outlived all 
of them. The remainder of his life he made his home with Eliza- 
beth A. Dixon, who was the widow of the deceased son, John W. 
T^ixon. in Xorth Dixon, at a house belonging to her. at the inter- 
section of ISTorth Jefferson avenue and Bi-adshaw street. 



258^ HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

For many years after the iDcliaiis left Illinois some of them 
came each year to visit him. This continned for years after he 
moved to the home in North Dixon. A delegation v^ould come 
nearly every summer from their home in Wisconsin, by canoe down 
the Rock river. They would go from the river to Ms house, make a 
cami? in his yard and remain there smoking their pij^es and visiting 
for a few days and then take their canoes back up the river to their 
homes. It was on one of these visits that Father Dixon presented 
one of the Indians with what was said to have been the only over- 
coat that he ever had. He never wore an overcoat, so it is said, but 
in his old age some one presented him with one, but he declined to 
use it, claiming that he never had used and had no need for such 
things and as he felt that it was useless to him he presented it to 
his Indian friend. 

Ml. Dixon was to the end of his life in excellent bodily and 
mental health. As late as in 1873, when eighty-nine years of age, 
he served on a grand jury in the United States District Court at 
Chicago. 

Shortly before the death of Mrs. Dixon and when nearly sixty 
years of age he divided the greater portion of the real estate which 
remained in his possession between his two surviving sons, and 
during the remainder of his life was not particularly active in 
business affairs. His ])hysical and mental vigor, however, were in 
a great measure retained until his decease. 

In May, 1876, he was taken ill with what was to be his last sick- 
ness and in July 6, 1876, he die<l, at the age of ninety-one years, 
eight months and twenty-eight days. His body was taken to the 
courthouse in Dixon, where it lay in state until the funeral. In 
the newspapers published at that time it is stated that upwards of 
ten thousand persons attended the funeral, the courthoiise square 
and the streets adjoining being crowded to such an extent that the 
voices of the speakers at the ceremony could not reach the outskirts 
of the crowd. 

Tlie Dixon Sun in I'eviewing his career and paying tribute 
to his niciHory, in its issue of July 12, 1876, among other things, 
said : 

"John Dixon is dead. On the 11th of May, nature with a sud- 
den stroke disengaged the cord that bound him; the old ferryman 
softly di'ifted away from the shore of time over the rippling waters 
and on last Thursday morning at half-past seven he landed on the 
other side — never to return. John Dixon. His name is memory. 
For mental gifts, mild disposition and jierforming purpose there 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 259 

will cluster around it the same recollectiuus that uow eushrine aud 
hallow the uame of Washiugtou. Some great men may be houored 
for their success, others may be praised for their achievemeuts ; but 
this humble mau gained that which ti'ansceuds all honor and 
exceeds all praise — that which wealth cannot command or position 
bestow; that which is due only to virtue aud honest worth — our 
affection and esteem. 

" VVe will not attempt his eulogy, it is inscribed in every heart 
that knew him — his deeds are a portion of the country. 
" "To live in hearts we leave behind 
Is not to die. ' 

"His name need not be inscribed in the Pantheon of history ; as 
long as the waters of the Rock river continue to tiow ; as long as its 
valley blooms or this city lasts ; as long as there is a pen to write 
or a tongue to utter; and when towering monuments with which 
grandeur uow mourns over departed pride have lost their marble 
pomp and are crumbled into ruin and decay ; when men now great 
for their wealth are forgotten and their earthly labors aud deeds 
have perished John Dixon will live in memory, cherished and 
revered. ' ' 

On the day succeeding his death a public meeting was held and 
the following resolutions, drafted by Judge John V. Eustace, were 
passed and were subsequent!}' passed and adopted at a meeting of 
the city council and recorded in the minutes of the proceedings of 
the council : 

"We, the people of Dixon, called upon to mourn the departure 
of him who gave our city its existence and its name, desire to place 
among its records this testimonial of our appreciation of his 
virtues. His neighbors, many of us who have known him for a 
third of a century and who, during all that time, have looked np 
to him and loved him as a father, with one accord have assembled 
to pay this tribute to his memory. 

"John Dixon, after a life extended far beyond the limit (n-di- 
narily assigned to man, at the ripe age of nearly ninety-two years, 
one-half of which had l^een passed in this town, so loved by him, 
which he had made, has departed from this scene of his earthly 
labors. He outlived all that were by the ties of blood nearest aud 
dearest to him, his weary jjilgrimage at last is ended. He has gone 
to them in the siunmer land. 

"A man of great strength of mind, force of character and 
determination of imrpose. yet he has lived and died without an 
enemy. Forgetful of himself he lived for others, a pure and 



260 . HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

unselfish life. He was the noblest work of God, an honest man, 
and he 

" 'So lived, that when the summons came to join 
The innumerable caravan that moves 
To that mysterious realm where each shall take 
His chambers in the silent halls of death. 
He went, not like the quarry slave, at night 
Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approached the grave 
Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.' 

"Pure and shnple-minded, faithful and true in all the relations 
of life, he has gone to his rest and his works do follow him." . 



CHAPTER XVII 
ALTO TOWNSHIP 

Traveling northward from Willow creek, along the east county 
line, Alto is reached. The origin of its name does not seem to have 
been preserved. At all events the oldest settlers can give me no 
information npon the point and the so-called histories written years 
before overlooked that important feature. 

At a meeting of the citizens of Alto township, held in the school- 
house of district 3, April 3, 1860, Hiram C. Holcomb was 
appointed chairman. Charles R. Hall was made moderator, and 
James Tyler, clerk. Justice H. C. Holcomb administered the oath 
and the polls were declared opened at 9 o'clock. 

At this meeting, it was ordered that the township be divided 
into four road districts and that a tax levy of 40 cents on the 
hundred dollars he levied for road purposes. A motion was also 
carried to raise a tax of 2 mills on the dollar for town purposes. 
The long period of herding cattle had become so much of a nuisance 
to the increasing settlements that drastic mea.sures were taken to 
compel cattle owners to fence their cattle. A motion was carried 
to the effect that all cattle should be kept up at night and if damage 
followed from leaving them at large, the owner was to pay for all 
damage done foi* the first offense and f(Tr the second otfense the 
owner was to pay double the damage done. And to enforce the rule 
summarily, everv man was made his ow^i pouudmaster. 

Forty-seven votes were polled. C. R. Hall was elected the first 
supervisor; James Tyler, the first town clerk; Josiah Carpenter, 
the first collector; James Tyler, the first assessor; Daniel Carey 
and H. C. Holcomb, the first justices of the peace; Josiah Carpen- 
ter and John Dorsoia, the first constable ; Jedediah Loneridge, the 
first overseer of the poor ; and James A. Smith, Roan McClure and 
M. Mills, the first highway commissioners. 

261 



262 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The first settlers of Alto were Mr. and Mrs. John Grimes who 
came to Alto in 1843 and settled near Plum Thicket, the only grove 
in the township. The house of Mr. <i rimes, the tirst one built in 
the township, was built, we are told, in 1847, four _years after he 
settled in the township. The second settler came in 1845 and his 
name was J. Wood, a Baptist preacher. He remained two or three 
years and then removed to Earlville. About 1852, Jedediah Lon- 
eridge came next. He remained about twenty years and lemoved 
to Nebraska. Following Loneridge, "the basket maker," came the 
families of James Holcoml) and his father, Hubbell Williams, 
Mason Flerriek, the Mills family, James Tyler, C. R. Hall, the 
Kirbys, the Stewards, the McDonalds (or McDonnels, as spelled 
sometimes), and the Carpenters — AMlliam F. Carpenter came to 
Alto in 1857. 

Alto township is a pi'aii'ie township and like other prairie town- 
shi])s. did not settle rapidly. In fact it may be said of Alto that its 
})oi)uhition was sparse mitil the late sixties. And it excited little 
attention until the railroad caiiic tlii'ougli. 

But since that date, Alto has gi\cii an excellent account of itself. 
It is a wonderfully rich township and until little Scarboro was 
created, Steward was the only village or city, for that matter, in 
Northern Illinois to market ovef a million bushels of grain year 
after year. Even now, with Scarlioro feeding on its old territorj', 
Steward has marketed 8()0.()()() bushels of grain. In the years 1869 
and 1870, when every connnunity in Northern Illinois was agi- 
tated by the prospects (on ])a])er ) of having a railroad or two, Alto 
experienced those same thrills. It was said that Francis E. Hinck- 
ley desii'cd to build a I'ailroad from Foi'reston to Chicago, to run 
thi'ough Alto township. The rumor created great excitement of 
course and when it was proposed to bond the township for $32,000, 
payable when cars were running over the rails, the proposition 
pi'ovokcd the usual antagoiiisiu. Patriotism was appealed to on 
the one hand ; the felloAv who thought he was paying taxes enough, 
o]iposed the venture. A meeting was had and a vote was taken 
which was carried favorably to the bonds by a vote of ninety-three 
foi-. to lil'ty against. Grading was connneuced on Monday, Se]it. 26, 
1870, and on Dec. 31, 1870. the road was finished to Rochelle and 
trains moved regularly to that point. After that date trains ran 
rather irregularly until April, 1871, and only one per day until 
1872. The Chicago fire and the financial distress prevailing over 
the country inteifered with the ]»laiis of the company considerably, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 263 

but eventiially the Chicago and Iowa railroad came to its own and 
enjoyed a prosperous business. 

Naturally there was a light ovei' the question of the l)Oiids, but 
this question was compromised by the issuance and acceptance of a 
$25,000 issue, and at a less rate of interest. 

For a time the railroad offices and the warehouse or freight 
house were located in the barn of Wesley Steward. 

Now, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy company controlling 
the road, runs some of the most beautiful trains in the country over 
this line of railway. All its noi'thwestern business is carried \da 
that route. This service includes two beautiful through trains each 
way, each day. The freight traffic over it now is enormous. 

In 1904, the importance of Steward was recognized by the 
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul company. That corporation 
enjoyed a joint occupancy of the strip of I'oad riuming southerly 
out of Rockford, and when the latter company desired to reach 
further south into the coal fields, Steward was selected as the 
junctional point from which to bear off to the southwest. Imme- 
diately this new road established two new stations in Lee county, 
Scarboro in Willow Creek township, and Roxbury in Wyoming 
township. With the up-building of Steward, the township of Alto 
took on an unusual degree of activity. Projects of imi)rovement 
in every direction were formulated, not the least of which was the 
extensive system of drainage more particularly mentioned in other 
parts of this work. But here in Alto they were agitated fii'st and 
here in Alto they began to materialize under the dredge and the 
spade, and an Alto man, Wesley Steward, was made a member of 
the first di'ainage board of Lee county to begin those operations 
which since have been made so stupendous. 

The village of Steward stands upon the corners of four sections, 
16, 17, 20 and 21, and Main and Dewey streets form the dividing 
lines. The town site was selected by Wesley Steward, on his lands, 
and he platted the village in 1870. William McMahan, the then 
coimty surveyor, made the survey of the plat, and S. O. Barnett, 
still a resident of Steward, assisted him in the performance of that 
job, as chainman. 

The first house on the new town site was built by Patrick Carey, 
from the first a section foreman foi' the Burlington company. This 
was in 1874 ; it was built on John street, where it stands today, and 
was used as Mr. Carey's residence. 

The first place of business was erected in 1871, by William 
Guthrie who used it for a restaurant. 



264 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The second business house was built by Hemy A. Robinsou in 
1871, aud he used it for a store of general merchandise. 

In 1875 P. A. Billion & Co. opened the first hardware store. 
The)" sold it to C A. Ruckman, who conducts it today on the same 
spot and in the same building. 

In 1877, Edward O'Neil erected a building on Main street and 
oj)ened therein a general store. Doctor Gardner opened the first 
drug store, but finding a drug store would not pay, he moved the 
stock upstairs and rented the store room to Yetter and Healy, who 
put in a stock of general merchandise. 

In 1859 the first schoolhouse was built in Alto, and Miss Carrie 
Whitcomb was the first teacher. Miss Carrie Norton succeeded 
hei'. The last named lady married Mr. Merritt Miller, who was a 
teacher, and afterwards Mr. Miller taught during the winter 
months and Mrs. Miller duiing the summer months. In the old 
schoolhouse, Misses Thurber, Holmes and others, followed. This 
same ()ld binlding stands t(jday on Main street and is used for a 
store building. 

In 1881, at a cost of $7,000, a new school building was built. On 
Feb. 8, 1903, this Iiuilding was destroyed by fire and for the rest 
of the school year school was conducted in the rooms over a Mr. 
Foster's store. Duiing the summer of 1903, the present beautiful 
building was erected, and b_v November 1st the schools were opened 
with Miss Ida Van Patten as principal. Miss Nona Floyd, teacher 
of the intermediate department, and Miss Valeria Whetston (Mrs. 
F. J. Beardsley) as primary teacher. Among those who have 
taught in the Steward schools are Delos W. Baxter, of Rochelle, 
and Messrs. Sensor, F^illmore and Miller as principals; Miss Ella 
Wilcox, now Mrs. Robinson of Iowa, Mrs." Nellie Bowles, Doctor 
Fauser ; Henry H. Hagen, principal ; Miss Nora O 'Neil, primary, 
and Miss Dora Ackland, intermediate. 

The postoffice was established in Steward in 1871 and Mrs. 
Merritt INIiller became the first postmistress. Through the intrigue 
of cheap enmity to the founder of the town, the namt> of the post- 
office was made "Heaton," professedly in honor of Judge William 
W. Heaton of Dixon. But this inconsistency and troublesome 
feature was short-lived. The de]»artment changed it to the name of 
the plat and the railway station, "Steward,'' just as it shoidd have 
been called from the first. The first postoffice was in the old depot, 
the scene of other interesting beginnings. After about a year, Mrs. 
Miller gave uji the office and H. A. Robinson was appointed. Those 
who STicceeded to the office have been William Preston, G. A. Ruck- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 265 

mau, aud Jolm P. Yetter, the present postmaster, although on 
Cleveland's second election, Rueknian was returned and then in 
turn, Yetter was returned. In 190-1: two rural deliveries were 
established from this office, both of which continue to this day. 
The two first carriers were S. H. Diller and Patrick O'Neal. 

In view of the enormous ([uantities ot gi'ain }»ruduce(l at this 
point, Air. Steward erected in 1872-73 an elevator to handle it 
and he engaged in the grain business. A coal and lumlter Inisiness 
was connected with the grain l)usiness. 

In 18SU, C. Jorgens & Co. erected another elevator. These 
people sold out to Miller and Emmitt and they in turn, in the year 
1894, sold to Titus Brothers. In 1901 this old elevator was torn 
down and rebuilt, much enlarged, on a new site furnished by the 
uew Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul company. 

On April 13, 1913. the village of Stewaid was incorporated and 
officers as follows were elected : 

President, U. S. Shearer; trustees, J. M. Durin, J. P. Yetter, 
John Taylor, F. P. Barnett. L. E. Birdsall and Thomas P. Kirby ; 
clerk, Edward T. Corwin ; treasurer, Zeno Wise ; police magistrate, 
S. J. Whetston ; marshal. Jay Stiles. 

One will find in Steward a peculiar situation in the business 
field. The grain dealers lun-e always done a banking business and 
to this da}^ Shearer Brothers receive deposits and write exchange 
to a very large amoimt in the course of the year. 

The Eirst Xational Bank was orgainzed Jan. 1, 1903, with a 
capital stock of $25,000. Its first officers were : E. L. Titus, jiresi- 
dent; I. R. Titus, cashier; R. W. Hough, assistant cashier, and 
E. L. Titus, I. R. Titus, ^Vesley Steward, CI. W. Thompson, J. M. 
Durin, R. W. Hough, A. B. Titus, George E. Stocking and G. W. 
Burin, directors. 

The Xeola Elevator Company operates the old Wesley Steward 
elevator. Alto township contains one of the best herds of pure 
bred Hereford cattle in the State of Illinois, owned l>y ^Y. E. 
Hemenway. The annual dispersion sales from this farm are events 
in Lee county history. For many years, Moriis Cook, son-in-law 
of Mr. Hemenway, owned a rare herd of the same breed, but on 
account of his large landed interests, he dispersed them aliout four 
years ago. 

Mr. Hemenway's farm is the old Plum Thicket and it has lieen 
named "The Grove Farm." 

At the International Live Stock show held in Chicago in 1905, 
"Masquerader" tied with another bull for sweepstakes honors. 



266 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

which tie had to be decided by casting lots, lu this test, Mr. 
Hemenway lost and so was given second. At other live stock shows 
this herd has achieved great distinction with "Right Lad" and 
other noted animals. 

Concerning the churches of Alto, their early history is much 
the same as the history of Malugin's Grove in Brooklyn and 
Willow Creek. All were in the same circuit and the same circuit 
riders visited each, altlidugii circuit riding had been almndoned 
practically when Alto began its church history. 

The year 1874 seems to mark the beginning of clmrch life in 
Steward as a distinctive feature. Of coui-se there were other 
church services in Alto township, but just where I have not been 
able to ascertain. 

In April, 1874, a meeting was lu'ld in the i-ailruad depot for the 
p^irpose of maturing plans to build a Methodist church in Steward. 
J. C. Curry, H. A. R(»]unson, H. YauPatten, V. W. Wells, Jeremiah 
Tyler, James A. Smith, Merritt Miller, Robert M. Peile and John 
Yetter were elected a building cununittee. M. Jj. Barnett was made 
treasurer and J. C. Curry was made clerk. Perkins Richardson 
of Aurora draughted plans and to T. J. Labdell was given the 
contract for building the new church. By September it was 
finished and then the question arose as to who should l)e given 
control of it. It was voted to the Methodists. On Sept. 6, 1874. the 
church was dedicated by Prof. Miner Raymond of the Carrett 
Bil:)lical Institute of Evanston. 

Mr. Steward then was superintendent of the railroad and to 
secure a large attendance he caused free trains to run into Steward 
from Chicago and ]\[omit Morris. The ladies furnished free 
dimiers. At the meeting Messrs. Steward and Curry agreed to 
13ay the d(>ticit after all t1ie su1iscri]itions had been nia<le liv the 
volunteers. 

Before tliis period \\'illow Creek fui'nisli(>d about the only 
church services to be found in tliat vicinity. 

North and soutli through Alto township the old Ottawa-Rock- 
ford trail ran. In l.Sf)!; a I'oad was viewed and laid out fi'om Paw 
Paw to Ruchelle. 

The lands in Alto average high in ])i'ice and fertility. 

The Plum Thicket run is the only natural stream running 
thi'ough Alto townshi]). and that is so unimi»ortant that it is little 
known. Water is reached easily. Drive wells reach an easy flow 
of water at a (lei)th of TOO to 200'feet. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 267 

The ver}' large Norwegian Evangelical clnireli in the suntli- 
easteru corner of the township already has been noticed in the 
account o'f Willow Creek. Jt is known as the North West church 
and is not far from Lee. 

It is so close to Lee that it is regarded as a Lee institution, it 
was organized June 25, 1870. At the meeting Michael Knutson 
was made chairman and Rasmus (). Llill, secretary. After prayers, 
articles of faith were adopted and officers were elected. Peter 0. 
Espe, Peter O. Hill and Elias O. Espe were elected trustees and 
Michael Knutson, Rasmus O. Hill and Ole O. Hill Avere made 
deacons. 

Its size is 36x56, 16 feet high, and has a seating capacity for 400. 
It is surrounded by a large yard and ample shed room for many 
teams. The cost of construction was $2,300 and the society is free 
from debt. While the Fertile Valley church is considered as a 
Steward church, it is in reality an Inlet swamp church over in 
Reynolds township and will be considered there. 

The very best of citizenship is found in Alto. The church-going 
element jDredominates almost to the extent of taking in every 
family in the township. 

Saloons are not permitted in Alto township. It has been dry 
territory for many years. 

The Norwegian settlement extends over into Alto considerably, 
and into its neighboring town to the east, Milan, in Delvalb county. 

Once in the lifetime of Wesley Steward, he owned considerable 
over two thousand acres of land in this township and his brother, 
Lewis Stewai'd. owned something like one thousand three hundred 
acres. 

James Kirby, for many years superAdsor, and one of the big- 
men of Lee county before his death, owned in Ms home farm nearly 
a thousand acres of land, I am told. 

Considerable useful information concerning Alto lauds will be 
found in the chapter devoted to the Inlet drainage scheme, one of' 
the biggest in the state. 

Lands in Alto township run up to two hundred and fifty and" 
three hmidred dollars, and I doubt if the latter figure could buy a 
single acre of the beautiful ^Nloi-ris Cook farm, just east of to\\Ti. 
Mr. Cook is a splendid farmer and when he speaks of threshing 
a season's crop, it means anything from ten thousand bushels 
upward. Mr. Cook holds to the theory that one year with another, 
it pays to market one's grain from the mouth of the machine, and' 



268 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

iu liis adniirable s,ysteni of keeping track of things, his figures 
prove the truth of his theory. 

The village of Steward is ouly six uiiles from Rochelle aud very 
naturally trade at Rochelle, the larger place, would gravitate that 
way, but Steward has some spleudid stocks of geueral merchandise 
and the merchauts enjo}' a splendid trade, running as high as hfty- 
tive thousand dollars in a single year, 1 have been told, with one of 
them, Mr. John P. Yetter, the postmaster. 

Rev. F. A. G-raham, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Chui'ch 
here and at Fertile Valley, has two very substantial congregations 
and his Sunday schools are very prosperous. 

STEWARD OP TODAY 

Steward, located in the midst of the best body of land on this 
earth almost, naturally reaps many advantages, one of which is 
that until Scarboro, just below it, was platted, one million bushels 
of grain and over were marketed every year there. Three large 
elevators take care of it and iu one of them there are three dum})S 
which may be operated at the same moment, so that one man may 
come to market black oats, another may market white oats and 
still another with wheat, barley or corn may l)e served without 
interference. This grain elevator of Shearer Brothers, on one 
occasion i)aid out in one day for grain, $22;000. I doubt if any 
place of ten times the size of Steward can make that boast. This 
is the concern, too, which does a large banking business as well as 
grain business and, too, they own one of the elevators at Scarboro. 

What is true of the grain trade is triie of the livestock trade. 
H. K. Sherlock, one of the buyers, spent $24,000 for six weeks' 
receipts. In two other months he ]iaid out $22,000. Besides 
him, other dealers luiy: Mr. G. AY. Durin, Peter Damn, P. C. 
VYagner and Thomas Kelley. 

Another elevator is owned l)y the Xcola cnnipany, the Armours, 
and the tliiid is called the Farmers. 1 hclie^'e. 

The Fii-st National Bank is owned largely in the Titus family. 
It has a eai)ital of $25,000 and a snridus of over $5,000. 

Besides owiung the harness sho]). E. T. ( 'orwin riuis the garage 
tliei'e and lie tells lue tliei'e are nearly one hundi'ed automobiles 
tributai'v to Steward. Soiiiething like thirt\' were sold in the jilace 
last season. 

The residences of Steward are of the very highest class. 
Besides that of Mv. Steward, the founder, is oni' owned bv A. A. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 260 

Kicliardson, costing $12,000. Cemeut sidewalks are laid l)efore 
every lot iu Stewai'd. This is one of the few places which has an 
independent electric light all. night sei'A'ice, called the Steward 
Electric Light and Water ConiiJany, managed by L. D. Beitel. 
The town is lighted by fifteen (i-l-candlep< »wei' Tnngsten lights, and 
never since Mr. Beitel has controlled the plant has the town been 
without light. SteAvard also has a splendid water service furnished 
by the electric light company at moderate figures. Tlie ])refisure 
can be made seventy-five ])(»unds to the square inch in an instant. 

Hon. Wesley Steward, who foimded the little place, died not 
long ago, leaving Mrs. Steward, his widow, and Miss Bertha, his 
daughter, two charming ladies, survi'\ing him. ^liss Steward is 
a member of the Rochelle chapter, D. A. R. She also is a membei' 
of the State Historical Society and is very nmch interested in his- 
torical subjects. Her father, before his death, kept a diary every 
day of his life after he came to Alto township in 1S55, and therein 
evei'y transaction was recorded just as it occurred, and when it 
occurred. When he came there he bought up 2,100 acres of land 
and his brothei', Lewis, owned 1,300 acres more. ]\Ir. Steward 
broke the first furrow on the land on whicli lie lived and on which 
the village of Steward is situated, and ever since 1855, he lived on 
that land. During all his long career he was one of the leading 
citizens of Illinois and in Lee comity, no one occu])ied a greater 
share of puljlic esteem. Since his death. Mrs. Steward and ^liss 
Steward spend much of their time in travel, especiall}' dui'iuu' the 
winter months. 

The business men of the place may be set down as follows: 
E. T. Torwin, as stated already; John P. Y^etter, general merchant 
and postmaster, and he runs one of the best equi]>ped stores T 
ever have seen; William Cratty. blacksmith; William Stauffer. 
blacksmith; the electric light and power plant: First National 
bank; Shearer Bros., grain and banking; The F^armer's Elevator. 
A. Coon, manager; Neola elevator, F. F. Nelson, manager; M. M. 
Fell, life insurance agent: Di-. O. Kimball; Dr. J. M. Bui'in ; F. P. 
Barnett, groceries; W. A. Foster, restaurant: Thomas F^. Kirby. 
farm implements; The O'Neil Estate, general merchandise, a very 
large store; C. O. Raymond, painter; G. A. Ruckman, hardware; 
Will Paum, plumber; W. W. Holton, barber; City Hotel, and the 
Telephone Exchange. 

Among the most successful farmers ai'e ^[orrit; Cook. Ole J. 
Prestegaard. the verv Avealthv fauiilv of TTerrniauu. some of whom 



270 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

live over in Willow Creek, Ira Cooj^er, Elmer Smith, and the 
Henning Brothers. Peter Daum is another. 

Farm lands of Alto have gone out of sight in price, so that it 
is impossible for me to quote it. 

Just now, two railroads pass through Steward, the old Kinck- 
ley road, now the Chicago, Burlington and Quiney, and the Chi- 
cago, Milwaukee and St. Paail riuming north and south. 









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STREET SCENE, AMBOY 




OLD DIS'l'lJ.LKliV AT l;(>(•K^ IdKI). ON TIIK GRKKN KIVER, AMBOY 



CHAPTER XVIIl 

AMBOY 

This claimed ±'or a Freuclmian named Filamalee, that he was 
the first settler tif Amboy township and that he lived in Palestine 
Grove about a mile south of Rocky Ford. It has been said that in 
a burr oak stump, he placed mortar and therein he pounded grain 
into meal and flour for bread. He left the country as soon as set- 
tlers began reaching the country, and John Dexter in 1835 became 
the fii'st settler. He came here from Canada and made his claim 
on the northwest quarter of section 13. The cabin which he built 
immediately, was twelve feet square. In the spring of 1836, Mr. 
and Mrs. James 1 )oan came into what now is the township of Am- 
boy. With them came John Doan the father and Jemima sister of 
James. In the s^jring of 1837, Andrew Bainter, brother-in-law to 
James Doan came in and took a claim on the Sublette road. In 
October, 1837, Asa B. Seails came up the Peoria road with a team 
of horses, bringing with him Benjamin Wasson, froni Peoria. 
Both were New York people. Searls located on south half of 
section 14 and AVasson on sections 14 and 15. Later Searls laid out 
Binghampton, a mile east of the present city of Amboy. Nathan 
Meek settled near Rocky Ford about 1837. Rocky Ford was so 
named from the ford over (Jreen river to the southwest of Amboy 
where Frederick R. Dutcher afterwards estaljlished a store, a mill 
and a distillery and where for a time a village of resi^ectable pro- 
poi'tions flourished. Meek was not reputed to be a desirable citizen 
during the days of the banditti. Three miles do^oTi stream he l^uilt 
his corn cracker mill and ground corn. He tried to make flour, 
but failed. A sawmill had been built in this township nmcli earlier 
than in otl^er sections of the county. When Mr. Searls first came 
here Timothy Perkins and Horace Bowen oi)erated one at Rtu-ky 
Ford, l>ut later in the year, it was transferred to a man named 

271 



272 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Lee. After a brief career, Lee sold to Mason. The latter died 
and Joliu Vou Arnam (or Van Norman) .secured it. In 1848, 
Frederick R. Dutcher purchased it. 

In 1837, James Blair, and his sons, William, Winthrop and 
Edwin came here, and settled on section 29. The same year, John 
S. Saw.yer and his four sons erected a cabin south of the Illinois 
Central shops. In 1811, Sawyer sold part of his claim to Joseph 
Parwell and the remainder to Joseph Appleton. Alexander Janes 
came in about 1837, but in a year or so sold his claim to Chester S. 
Badger, and moved to Bureau county. In 1838, Mr. Badger and 
his sou, Simon, settled in this township, and in 1839 Warren, an- 
other son, came out with tlic mother and her two daughters, Sarah 
and Rowena (or Roena). But Warren returned and remained in 
the East until 1842 only, when he came back to Illinois and set- 
tled j)ei'mauentl}' here. Henry Badger came in 1849. In the sum- 
mer of 1838, John C. Church, Curtis Bridgeman, the latter 's sons, 
Curtis and Urial, and William Hunt arrived. In 1841, Jacob 
Doan came out from Ohio and ])ouglit the claim made bj^ Mr. 
Church, one mile south of Amboy. Martin Wright also came in 
1838, from Massachusetts. John Fosdick, the Lee Center or Inlet 
blacksmith moved his smithy over to Doau's place and that be- 
come the first in the township. Later Fosdick returned to Lee 
Center, and Doan and Frederick Bainter became ju-oprietoi's and 
continued the business. Doan invented a scouring plow and many 
were made by the firm. 

In 1839, Cyrus Davis and his son. C.yrus A. Davis, cauic licre 
from jMassaeluisetts and claimed a home on the southeast quarter 
of section 15, later Wyman's addition to Amboy. .John and Wil- 
liam Hook, l)rothers, located at Rocky Ford in 1840. Aai'on 
Hook came two years before. Tlic Joseph Farwell clniiii ou tlie 
northeast (juarter of section 22 subsequently was ])latted into the 
original town of Amboy. Jesse Hale canie in 1841, and Sauuiel 
and L^'uian Bixby cauic lierc in 1844. Among others Avho came to 
the neighliorhood about this time, wci'e, Joseph A])pleton (41 or 
42); Josiali Davis; Francis H. Nortliwa\- (1S44); Orris Adams 
and family; David Searls, Alvan H. Thom])Son; Hiel I^ewis 
(1842) ; Miles and Josi'ph Lewis ( 1845) ; Seth W. Holmes (1846) ; 
Elijah and Warren Hill; Henrv C. Shaw, and John M. Blocker 
(1849). 

The first public land sales were held at the Dixon Land Office 
in the autumn of 1844. Prior to this time of course, every i^erson 
was a squatter. But as noticed already, every connnunity had its 



HISTORY OF LEE COIN IT 273 

code under which Hues were regulated, settlers were jn'otcctcd in 
the peaceable enjojanent of their claims and iu the right to buy 
the same fi'om the GoA-erument when offered for sale, unham])ered 
by speculators. The Amboy association about 1837, centered 
around Inlet, of which Aml:)oy was a part at that time. J^ater, the 
settlers ai'ound Palestine (irove, organized and hvld meetings at 
the homes of Sherman Hatch and William Dolan. Jn 1847, all 
need for this latter association liaving vanished it was discontin- 
iied. While individual ass(»ciations existed ever\^diere, tliey all 
were confederated togethei' foi- any emergencies which ma>- haxc 
arisen. 

On the 16th of March, 1839, George E. Haskell, was chosen 
president of the claim association for Inlet and Martin Wiigiit, 
clerk. The committee elected consisted of Ransom Barnes, 1). H. 
Birdsall, Ozro C. Wright, Daniel M. Dewey and Benjamin 
Whiteaker. March 20, 1841, Haskell and Wright were reelected, 
and D. H. Birdsall, David Tripp, Daniel M. Dewey, Charles 
Starks and Sherman Shaw were made the committee. 

In the spring of 1850, April 2d, the tirst annual town meeting 
was held in Amboy, Joseph Farwell acted as moderator and 
Joseph B. Appleton as clei'k. Miles Lewis suggested that tlu^ new 
township be named Amboy and the name was adopted. David 
Searls was made superAdsor; J. B. Appleton, town clei'k; Martin 
Wright, assessor and A. H. Thomjison, collector. 

The old road from Peru to ('Iraud Detour, mentioned already 
was the first to rmi through Amboy township. Tlie second ran 
from Inlet to Prophetstown, taking in Binghamton, and Rocky 
Ford. Main street today is that ^-ery road and the old cotton- 
woods along the edges to mark its course, were planted by Jose]»h 
Farwell. 

In 1855. the Illinois Central i-ailroad was Hnished thi'ough Am- 
boy to Freeport, and on February 1, it was thrown open for 
traffic. The fii'st train to reach Amboy was in November, 1854. 

During the session 1868-9 of the Illinois Legislature, Alonzo 
Kinyon of Amboy was a member of the low^er House. During this 
session, he procin'ed a charter for the Chicago & Rock River 
Railroad Comj^any to lun from Rock Falls to Calumet. In 1869, 
Kinyon was elected president and on July 26, 1869, Amboy Adtcd 
by 517 for, to 92 against, to issue townshi]) bonds in aid of the 
road to the extent of $100,000. January 4, 1872. the road between 
Rock Falls and Amboy was finished and Jmie 19 it was finished 
toPaAv PaAv. lender Kinyon. slioi)s and all iiiaiiner of good things 



274 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

for Aniboy were i^roniised, but when the Chicago, Burliugtou & 
Quiucy Railway Company obtained possession of the road, and 
connected it with the Chicago & Iowa road at Shabbona, Amboy 
was doomed. The bonds were fought bitterly for years. All sorts 
of subterfuges were resorted to in the efforts made to escape serv- 
ice of process; but to no purpose. Their i^ayment had to come 
sometime. A settlement was made at last, and not very long 
ago the last dollar was paid off. Many times the burden became 
intolerable but with a sublime courage the citizens stuck to it until 
every cent was paid. 

Amboy always has l:)een fortunate with her school system. The 
same intelligence which pervaded Iidet, while Amboy was a part 
of that precinct, has pervaded Aml)oy ; teachers and ministers and 
physicians, all men of rare intelligence, came early to Amlioy and 
they saw to it that the Amboy schools were built on suljtantial 
foundations and jjresided over by good teachers. 

Lucy Ann Church was the first teacher to teach in this town- 
ship. The school house, built of logs, was located on the Sublette 
road just south of the railroad crossing. Leonard Pratt, John 
Carey, Ira Hale, David Hale and Charlotte D(^an followed Miss 
Church. The second school in the t<:)wnshii) was the famous 
Wasson School, a frame building erected over towards Lee Center, 
in 1845. In this school Misses Rowena (or Roena") Badger and 
Roxy Wasson taught for a long while. John Scott, an able teacher, 
H. E. Badger and Lyman C. AYheat also tanght there. 

Later, the first school was moved further south and located near 
the Lewis place. 

Private schools never were attempted to any great extent. At 
Rocky Ford, a few irregular terms Avere ventured, but in the face 
of failure, they were not continued. 

Church ser\-ices were furnished first l)y Father Gorbus, a 
Methodist, who came over from the Indian Creek country. 

The next minister to appear so far as known, was a German 
Baptist named Father Hetchler. Rew Courtis Lathrop came along 
third. He was a Methodist. Father White, a Methodist was next 
to appeal-. 

In 1843, the Re\-. Donaldson, assisted in organizing a Congre- 
gational society, said to be the first in the county. This was done 
at the house of Moses Crombie, and tlu^ name a(la])te(l was "The 
Congregational Church of Palestine Grove." Services were held 
for many years in the Wasson schoolhouse. Rev. John Morrel 
was the first regidar pastor. He in turn was followed by Rev. In- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 275 

gei'soll, father uf Robert Ci. lugersoll. Revs. Juseph Gardner and 
a Mr. Piersou followed lugersoll. Later this chiireh moved to Lee 
Center. Many stories are related of Rev. Ingersoll especially by 
Rev. Haney, the Methodist circuit rider. From all, we can learn 
the gentleman ^^•as rather opinionated and c(jnsiderably belliger- 
ent. 

The Palestine Grove Baptist Cluircli was another early clnircli. 
In 184:7, Rev. Charles Cross became its pastor. 

The Mormon church attempted to secure a footlmld in this 
township and what is more, it was actually secured. The first 
preacher, William Anderson, held his services in John Hook's 
house. Both Joseph and Hyrum Smith came up here often from 
Nauvoo. Joseph, the prophet, married a Miss Emma Hale, sistei' 
to Alva Hale of Sublette, and David Hale and ^L's. Benjamin 
Wass(ui of Amboy. Asa Searls was a boyhood acquaintance of 
Smith, and had been a schoolmate. Smith visited his friends and 
relatives here often. He made it a point always to preach when 
here, using the log schoolhouse on the Sidjlette road. When in 
the famous litigidion of June, 1843, the Governor of Missouri, sent 
a requisition over into Illinois for Smith's arrest, the latter was 
visiting those relatives and friends in Palestine Grove. An Illi- 
nois constable and the Missouri agent came u]") here and arrested 
him. Smith fought desjx'ratcly. but after receiving many lnuises. 
he was overpowered. 

The crowd believed the proceedings wei'e entirely illegal and 
many followed Smith and his captors to Dixon. It was agreed, 
however, that Smith was to return to Nauvoo. But ui)on the dis- 
covery of the Missouri agent's design to take the ]»risoner over 
to Missoui'i direct, a party of Mormons collected and rescued the 
prophet. Immediately he was brought trium])hantly into Nauvoo. 
A writ of habeas corpus was issued and Smith was I'eleased by 
Judge Stephen A. Douglas. 

Aaron Hook who had gone to Nauvoo and who had been or- 
dained an elder, returned now, to Rocky Foi'd. William Snuth, 
auothei' brother of the prophet came over to Lee county from 
Nauvoo a])out this time and a very considerable Mormon follow- 
ing was obtained in Lee county. 

Among the number were the Hooks, Edwin Cadwell. Wetit- 
worth Blair, Stephen Stone and Da\dd L. Doan. 

It was a deplorable circumstance, however, that none of the 
Smiths could get along with his neighbors. This William Smith 



276 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

was U(,» exception. He was arrested here fur bigamy, released and 
tbeu lie left the country. 

In 1860, April 6th, the anniversary of the founding of the 
church, the annual conference was held in Amboy. Joseph Smith, 
Jr., was installed prophet and high priest in the old ^[ochanics 
Hall, where the meeting was held. 

Amboy township M^as peopled early b}' enterprising people. 
So soon as the settlers got their bearings, they proceeded at once 
to biiild their homes and scliools and churches and then to estab- 
lish ■\illages for trading and manufacturing purposes. 

Binghamton was laid out by Asa E. Searls and named in honor 
of Binghamton, Xcw \'oik. its location was on tlic southeast 
quarter of section 14. The date was April, 1848. Warren Badger 
laid off some lots contiguous. Hei'e Mr. Searls opened and main- 
tained the Binghamton House. He erected a store as well and took 
into partnership Edward AVaters. Later Henry Potter l)ought 
the store and he in turn sold it to the Union ( 'ompany, a cooperative 
comjiany, conducted by James H. Preston. Tvol)ert <!. liigersoll 
was Mr. Searls' "hired man," for a considerable period. 

Binghamton became a flouring mill center, John Dexter in 1844 
built one on Green liver and the Badger brothers, Warren and 
Palmer, built another. The latter was killed by a bank of earth 
falling on him and Chester Badger took his place in the partner- 
ship. In 1858, Chester and Henry I^adger took ovei' the property 
and introduced steam power instead of water ])owcr. On Thurs- 
day night, July 18. 1872. the mill was burned and a loss of .f6,()<)(> 
was sustained. The mill was rebuilt and H. E. Badger and son 
took it over and operated it until the evening of July 21. 1881. 
when it was struck ))v lightning and burned. Loss ?(^16,000; insur- 
ance $6,000. 

John Doan started a plow factoiy which he I'au for a year and 
then sold it to Frederick IJaintei'. hi 1S4() another was started 
by the Sliaws and Churches. One of the factorit's, a quaint lit- 
tle limestone building testihes to the business thrift of Bingham- 
ton, to this very day. 

There were tAA'o ])lacksmith shops, a shoe sho]), a wagon sho]), 
the "Reed House," and in 1850 it liad secui'ed from Shelbui-n the 
.stage head(juarters and the postoffice. At this time Binghamton 
was one of the prosperous places of the county. 

Binghamton is one nnle east of Amboy. There the cemetery 
was established in the early day and in it. Patience, wife of A. B. 
Searls, was Hi'st to be bnried. She died Dec. 19, 1846. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 277 

Rocky Eord was settled early aud became the center of manu- 
facturing interests without being platted. The old Indian trail 
from west to east crossed the river here. Timothy Perkins set- 
tled here lirst. He and Horace Bowen erected a sawmill, which 
passed successively into the hands of Lee, Mason, Van Ai'uam (oi- 
Van Norman) and Dutcher. In 1849, Frederick R. Butcher plat- 
ted the property and named the plat, iShelburn. The river was the 
dividing line. Butcher erected a distiller}' at once and in 1853, 
he added a store. Jacob Doan next year put in another st()re. 

The Shelburn Manufacturing Company of which Uutcher was 
president, put u]) a large flouring mill in 1856. It was eonil:)ined 
with the distilleiy and tShelburn attracted considerable trade and 
a large business was handled. 

The mill was a stone l)nilding 60x60 feet, four stories high. The 
distiller}' was 40x140, two and a half stories high. The dam was 
built of solid masonry, the whole costing $65,000. Col. John 
B. Wj-inan for a time was an influential member of the company. 

In 1859, by reason of an explosion, the south wall was partially 
thrown down and the Ijoiler was hurled thirty rods across the 
ci'eek. The engineer, John Bentley was injured ))adly. Loss 
$4,000. Ten }'eai's later the building was destroyed by Are. A 
small section of wall stands today to invite attention to the former 
glories of Shelburn. Beautiful Rock}' Foixl cemeter}' is located 
here. It is owned by the Catholic church at Amlioy. 

When the Illinois Central was built, RhcDiui'n and Bingliamton 
collapsed and became deserted A'illages. 

The first jDostal facilities were furnished l)y Dixon. Then Asa 
B. Searls became first postmaster and the office was maintained 
in his house. Warren Badger followed when Searls resigned. 
Dutcher was made postmaster of Shelburn, but when Bingliam- 
ton secured its removal, Dutcher secured its re-esta))lishment un- 
der the name of Equator. 

Shelburn had all the opportunity t<» lead. When the mail 
route was changed from Peoria to Peru. Shelburn became the 
stage headquarters. Two lines were run. one Ijy Frink and AValker 
and another b}^ Dixon and Andruss. But the Bingliamton people 
outgeneraled their rivals at everv turn and finally secured the 
stage lines. IMidway between Binghamton and Shelburn, stands 
Amboy, made l)y the entrance of the Illinois Central railroad. 

In 1851, a corps of engineers under Roswell B. INIason, ran lines 
through this loeolitv. T. B. Blackstone, had charge of tlie men 
between Dixon and Bloomington. Tlie town sites then were owned 



278 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ill many iustaiices, by individuals ur cuiupauies, cuiuposed of 
stockliolders of the Central. Very much after present day methods 
they pursued the tactics of the present day man. At first a farm 
two miles north of the present depot, was bought and the com- 
pany sent out word that the machine shops for the new road were 
to be located there. Some stone was hauled and the place actually 
was named Ivepatau. This feint was made for the sole purpose 
of securing another farm for the town. The scheme worked very 
well and Amboy stands today just where the Centi'al people de- 
sired, on the ' ' Farwell place. 

In June, 1853, JNIichael Egan came here to begin woi'k un the 
station buildings. Plans for the machine shops were made and 
Mr. Egan i^ushed their construction with rapidity. Eighteen hun- 
dred and fifty-four became the birth year of Amboy. Town lots 
were sold rai)id]y. Earwell's and AVyman's and (Jilson's additions 
were platted and residence lots Avent oft' rapidly. R. I). Peironet 
and Samuel Goldman opened the first stores ; the first named had 
a small stock of knick-knacks, (loldman sold clothing. 

In the siji'ing of 185-1, Josiali Little erected a store l)uil(ling 
which was opened in October and in which a stock of drugs, hard- 
ware and groceries was sold; Wilcox and Wooster followed with 
a dry goods and grocery store. Later, ]\Ir. Wooster ))ought the 
interest of his partner. During these first formative years, Am- 
boy grew very rai)idly. 

David Bainter was the first doctor to settle here. William E. 
Ives, the first lawyer to settle here, came in December, 1854. 
Alfred Tooker and James H. Filch came the next _vear. Alonzo 
Kinyon, who read law here came aljout the same time. Desirous 
of securing the facilities of a court, Kinyon secui-ed the ])assage of 
an act Ity the Legislature establishing, "The Court of Couniion 
Pleas of the City of Amboy." with jurisdiction concurrent with 
the circuit court, cases of nuu'der and treason exce])ted. In 18(i9. 
Kiiixdu was elected judge of this court and C. D. N'aughau was 
elected clerk. The court did not pi'ospei'. however, and in 1874 the 
law was re])ealed. 

Armed Avith a letter of introduction to Ste-i)hen A. Douglas. 
Bernai'd IT. Trusdell came to Aui)>o\- in 1858, to i>ractice law. 
Douglas had advised Amboy. Edward Southwick nioxcd lier(> 
from Dixon, but died about the time Mr. Trusdell came here. N(U'- 
man H. Ryan came a little later. Both Trusdell and Ryan bc^-ame 
lawvers of renown. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 279 

Incoi'puration as a town followed soon. lu the winter of 
1854-5, the town was incorporated. Allen E. Wilcox became the 
first president of the board of trustees. H. B. Judkins became the 
second clerk. 

On Dec. 23, 1856. a citizen's meeting was held in Me- 
chanics hall to consider the (|uesti(in of city organization. J. B. 
Wyman, William E. Ives, Alonzo Kinyon and Edward !Southwick, 
were appointed a committee to draft a charter. On the 30th at 
an adjourned meeting held at the Orient House, the chartei' was 
reported, adopted section by section and then as a whole. On 
Feb. 16, 1857, an act was apiDroved and March 2 was set 
for the election to adopt or ratify it. On the 8th following, John 
B. Wjonan was elected ma^'or. Orange D. Reed, marshal; 8. IS. 
Stedman, E. S. Reynolds. -L R. Stevens, P. B. Little, J. M. Davis 
and J. A. Jackson were elected aldermen. Two hundred and 
thirty- four votes were cast. Daniel T. Wood was made clerk ; 
W. E, Ives, attorney; A. E. Wilcox, assessor; W. B. Andruss, col- 
lector; Edward Little, treasurer and Arthur Pond, surveyor. 

In 1854-5, the postoifices at Shelburn and Biughamton were 
discontinued and Amlioy secured the sam<\ Orange D. Reed was 
made lirst postmaster. 

The first birth in the new village was that of Medora Bell, 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bell, Aug. 29, 1854. The 
first birth in the township was that of Simon, son of Mr. and Mrs. 
John Dexter in 1836; the second Avas that of William C. Doan, son 
of James Doan, Oct. 16, 1837. The first marriage in the vil- 
lage of Aml)oy was that of A\'illiam C. Bartlett, and Caroline Bart- 
lett, Oct. 18, 1854. The first death in the village was that of 
Almira ^Melissa, infant daughter of Mr. and ^Irs. W. B. StTiart. 
Jan. 5, 1855. 

Two tragedies occui'i'ed in Amboy. Owen O'Connor shot and 
killed Dennis Allen, saloon keeper, Oct. 11, 1872. On April 
18, 1873, John McGrath stabbed and killed Edward Egan. A 
negro killed another negro in the passenger station liy striking 
with his fist. 

Amboy has made sevei'al fights to secure the coimty seat and 
always she has been vigilant to see that Dixon obtained no advan- 
tages. For that reason, imtil the erection of the ]n'esent court- 
house, Dixon always had been compelled to build and maintain 
the courthouse. In 1866, the first effort was made. With Dr. 
George Ryon in the Legislature it Avas conceded that her chances 
were better than an average. But the effort failed. When it be- 



280 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

came kuowu that tlie present new cuurtliouse was probable for 
Lee county, Amboy made another desperate effort to secure the 
county seat ; but tliis defeat was more decided than the first. The 
removal of the division oftiees and the slio^js from Amboy, had cut 
her population, while the territory naturally tributorj- to Dixon, 
as well as Dixon herself had been enjoying a long period of pros- 
perity and increase in population. 

Amboy has been subjected to fearful fires. The first big fii'e 
on the morning of Dec. lU, 1863, originated under the brick 
city hall, three stories high. A $35,000 loss followed; insurance, 
$14,000. 

In 18()1 a $45,000 fire followed; insurance, $38,000. March 10, 
1865, another big fire followed. Other fires occurred April 2, 
1868; April 25, 1871, and Aug. 25, 1871, the last one entailing a 
loss of $175,000; insurance, $103,000. In this last fire John Shan- 
non was burned to death. He had been incarcerated in the city 
jail and was forgotten until too late. Other fires of smaller de- 
gree have followed since, but none of an}' magnitude. 

After the railroad debt had been saddled upon the conmiunity, 
the sti'xiggles of Amboy were hopeless, many times. No money 
could be secured for improvements. The railroad shops were taken 
away. The division offices were removed ; yet she struggled for- 
ward bravely, and beginning with the administration of Mayor 
John P. Harvey, splendidly paved streets made their appearance. 
Boulevard lam])S followed. Now Amboy is pushing forward 
splendidly. I dc insist, however, that the splendid grasp which 
Mayor Harvey had of the situation and his uncomprouusing efforts 
for order, beauty and business development, ha\e l)een responsible 
very largely f()r the new Amboy of today. 

The Lewis fannlies in Lee eoimty are descendants of George 
Lewis, who, with his l)r(ither J(»hn, eame from East (Treenwich, 
Count}^ of Kent, England, about 16:>0, to Plymouth, JNIass. 

George married Sarah Jenkins in England. She was sister 
of Edward Jenkins, one of the earliest settlers of Scituate, aud 
ancestor of most of that name in New England. George Lewis 
w^as a clothier by occupation aud in religious matters was a Sepa- 
ratist, or otic of the Pilgrims, as distinguished from the Puritans 
of the iMassacliusctts l>ay Colony. He went from Plyiiiouth to 
Scituate, and tlieuce to Earustable, being one of the early settlers 
of that town. 

Nathaniel Lewis, Jr., as lie is known in the faniilv genealogy, 
was a direct descendant of (ieoi-<;'e T<ewis, and was born in A'cr- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 281 

rnout May 27, 1769, and, witli his wife (Esther Tuttle), came to 
Susquehanua coimty, Peunsylvania, about the year 1785. Six 
sons and six daughters were born to them in Susquehauna coimty, 
and their names, date of birth, date and place of death are as 
follows : 

Esther, born June 2, 1793 ; married Joshua McKune ; died at 
Osceola, Wisconsin, Sept. 19, 1878. 

Levi, born Nov. 9. 1796; died Sept. 28, 1857, at Amboy, Illi- 
nois. 

Lurena, born Dec. 22, 1798; married Augustus Trowl)ridge; 
died Dee. 7, 1867, at Lee Center, Illinois. 

Nathaniel C, born May 3, 1803 ; died Nov. 27, 1864, at Genoa. 
DeKalb county, Illinois. 

Sarah, born May 1, 1805; married Sabin Trowljridge; died 
Dec. 8, 1861, at Lee'Center, Illinois. 

Joseph, born April 15, 1807; died May 5, 1882, at Amboy, 
Illinois. 

Timothy P.. liorn Mai'ch 28, 1809; died Jan. 7. 1872. at Amboy, 
Illinois. 

Elizabeth, born Nov. 13, 1811; married Hezekiah McKune; 
died Feb. 7, 1899, at Lee Center, Illinois. 

Ann, born Feb. 1. 1814; married Austin B. Trowbridge; died 
Feb. 11. 1880, at Lee Center. Illinois. 

Kiel, born Dec. 31, 1816; died April 28, 1880, in Amboy town- 
sliip, Lee county, Illinois. 

Miles, born May 11, 1818; died Aug. 27. 1877, at Lee Center, 
Illinois. 

Olive, lx)rn June 17, 1823; married Alpheus G. Skiuucr; died 
Oct. 1, 1892, at Chiua township, Lee county, Illiu<ns. 

These twelve children of Nathaniel Lewis, Jr., were all liorn 
in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, and all, with their families, 
came to Illinois between the years 1842 and 1845; and at one time, 
were all in Lee county, Illinois. 

AMBOY OF TODAY 

By P. M. Jan:es 

The city of Amboy has had its vicissitudes and days of darkness 
and gloom; biit. phoenix-like, it is arising from the ashes of the 
dead past and with confidence and assurance is now looking 
straight into the future. 

The I'onoval of the Illiudis (^'entral railroad shops and the 
heavy bonded iudelitedness of the townsliip. voted for the construe- 



282 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

tion of the Rock Ri^er railroad, — the two ghastly spectres which 
for many years hung like a finiei'al pall over (jiir jjeople, — are now 
matters of ancient history. 

The Illinois Central has in a measure returned to Amboy, — its 
monthly pay roll at the present time at this place amounting on 
the aA-erage to $15,900 with Ijright prospects for an increase in 
both pay roll and business and with a strong j)robability that this 
compan}' will again make this place a I'egular terminal station. At 
the present time, the compan}- makes Amboy its freight terminal, 
and it is here well provided with side tracks and rovmdhouse. The 
business transacted by this company at this i)lace is summarized by 
its gentlemanly agent, A. A. Caiinichael, as follows: 

Employes at station. 16 ; at I'Oiuidhouse, 25 ; on section, 15 ; and 
on trains and engines, 1 iO : making a total of 196 and an average of 
over thirty thoiisand freight cars are handled through the Amboy 
3^ard each month. 

The Rock River railroad Ixmds have' long since been paid 
($100,000), and long years of interest, and from this time on the 
road constructed, now a branch of the (Chicago, Burlington and 
Quincy railroad, will be a good investment and a source of income 
to the entire town, at least in the ])a3'ment of taxes, which for the 
year 1912 amounted for the townshi]) to the siun of $2,692.46. 

Amboy is also the western terminal of the Xorthern Illinois 
Electric Railway Company whidi lias its road under construction 
from Amboy to DeKalb, and of which twehe miles, reaching 
through liCe ( V'uter and Ijradford to lu'ar the Reynolds township 
line, are completed and in operation. These three railways give 
Amboy excellent shipping facilities, l)ut the one thing that has 
duriiig the past few yeai-s tended to build iij) Amboy and its busi- 
ness interest has been the develoi)ment of the agi'icultural 
resources in this vicinity. By a thorough system of drainage by 
means of tile and open ditches, it has discovered that the farm lands 
in the vicinity of Aml)o\' may and lia\ c hecoine very prodiu-tive, — 
and as a result our l)usiness men now look and depend on the 
fai'mei- more than any other one class of people. As these farms 
continue to imj)rove in value and ])ro(luctiveness it is but natui'al 
to believe that Amboy Avill be l)eneiited thereby. 

ciTV G()vf,rx:mi:xt 

The city of Anil)oy was originally incorp(n'ated under a special 
charter Feb. 16, l.s.')7. which was amended Feb. 24, 18(59. but on 




LEE COUNTY FAIR, 1iil2. AilBOY 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 2S;! 

May 8, 3888, was reorganized under the city and callage laws of 
the state. The more marked improvements during the past few 
years have been the instaHation of a city water system, with the 
water supplied of an excellent quality from an artesian well over 
two thousand feet in (lei:)th, luider Mayor Geoi'ge E. Young; the 
removal of the old wtioden awnings in the business section, the con- 
struction of cement sidewalks and the installation of a general 
sewer system under ]\rayor J. P. Johnson ; the paving of the streets 
in the business section, and the extension of water mains, sewers 
and cement walks under ]Mayor John P. Harvey ; and the instal- 
lation of the boulevai'd lighting system in the business section, 
and the improving and rel)uil(ling of the electric lighting system of 
the entire city, under the present mayor, Pred N. Vaughan. The 
present officers of the city government are as follows : 

F. X. Vaughan, mayor; Messrs. W. J. Keho, C. A. Penstemaker, 
H. W. O "Toole, ^\. J. Edwards, T. B. Pisher, James Briggs, Prank 
Brady, E. H. Barlow and A. J. Barlow, aldermen; J. W. Kelleher, 
city marshal; P. A. Placli, city clerk; Paul P. Reilly, city treas- 
urer; William L. Tecch. city attorney; John M. Egan, Jr., city 
engineer; P. (\ A^aughan. lire mai'shal; Dr. E. A. Sullivan, liealth 
officer; V. B. Andruss, water connnissioner ; H. H. Badger, J. C. 
MacKinnon and W. J. Edwards, park commissioners. 

AESTHETICS 

The ci\TC pride of the cntizens is shown by the well painted 
homes, the well kept lawns and the care and attention given street 
trees, shrubs and ornamental plants, by reason of which Amboy 
always presents a neat and tidy appearance. The city owns Oj'een 
"River Park, a tract of about forty acres lying adjacent to the city 
on the east and which is well shaded with native oak trees. This 
park is situated on the banks of (freen river, is well cared for by 
the cit}^ and is well patronized, not oidy Ijy the people of the city, 
but also by many people f I'om a distance. 

Adjacent to this park on the south and west are located the 
grounds and improA^ements of the Lee County Pair Association 
Avith a half-mile track which is a joy to the horsemen. During the 
fair the association is granted the use of the park, and taken 
together they make an ideal ])lac(' for the animal gathering of the 
people of the entire county. 



284 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

HOSPITAL 

Amboy Hospital, owned by tbe Amboy Hospital Company, 
lucm'poi'ated, is located at tlie coriun' of Plant and Division streets 
and is well equipped and lias competent nurses for the treatment 
and care of tbe sick and for surgical operations, and is being much 
appi'eciated and well patronized by our citizens. While it is o\\"ned 
and controlled as a priA^ate corporation, yet its doors are always 
open for any legitimate business and all re]tntable physicians and 



SCHOOLS 

'I'lu'i-c arc three school liiiildings in Anil)oy,--a pel:)l)le dash two- 
room Iniilding located on East Main street, a two-story brick 
building on AN^'st Provost street, and a two-story pressed brick 
high school biiilding located near the center of the city. Grades 
1 to 4, inclusive, are taught in the two tii'st mentioned build- 
ings, and grades 5 to 12 inclusive, are taught in the high school 
building. 

The high school has a regular four-year course and includes 
liousehohl scit'iice, mamial training and agriculture. As to the 
characte]' and standard of the work done in the high school it is 
sufficient to mention the fact tliat this school has been on the fully 
accredited list <if the Cniversity of Illinois for many years, and 
at the present time its graduates may olitain seventeen credits or 
two more than are re(|uired for admission to the university. 

Tlie lioard of education consists of Frank P. Blocker, president ; 
P. M. James, secretary ; and Messrs. Fred N. Yaughan, J. M. Egan. 
Jr., (I. A. Deming, C. H. Wooster and Charles A. Zeigler. The 
teachers for lOlH-ll are: (~)tis M. Eastman, suiierintendent and 
})rinciiial of the high school; Misses ^fyrtle Kenney. Ruth F. 
Keefer and Eauna 1>. Rol)inson in the high school: and in the 
grades. Misses Edna \Yashburn. Josie F. Kelio, Jennie Carroll. 
Margaret Ilannnond, < 'athei'ine < ^lark, TjCota Dee Brown and Lena 
Elois Scranton. Y[r. Eastman and ^Liss Keefer are from the Fni- 
vei'sity of Illinois; Miss Robinson from Wesleyan I'niversity of 
Bloomington, Illinois; and MissKeiuiey a ]iost graduate of South- 
ern Hlinois Normal University; of the gi'ade teachers, three are 
Normal School gi'aduates. and all ha\'e had normal school training. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 285 

CHUKCHES 

To accommodate the Aai-ious religious beliefs of her citizens 
Amboy is well supplied with churcla organizations, as follows : 

tSt. Patrick's Catholic Church, with a large brick editice located 
on Jones street, and with Rev. 'J'. J. Culleu, priest, in charge; 
Cernian Lutheran, located on Jones street; Baptist on Alasou 
street, Kev. Earl A. Rine,y, pastor; Methodist Episcopal with a 
stone ediliee on Mason street, Rev. J. W. George, pastor ; St. Luke 's 
Episcopal, on Mason street; (Jongregational, located at cornei' of 
Main and Plant streets, with Rev. 11. H. Appelhnan, pastor; and 
the Christian Science occupy rooms in the Badger Block. 

NEWSPAPERS 

E'or many years Amboy has had two newspapers, known as the 
Amboy News and the Amboy Journal, but in October, 1913, the 
News-Journal Company was incorporated and took over and con- 
solidated both plants and will continue publishing the Amboy 
News. 

The names of the dii'ectors and officers of the News- Journal 
Company are as follows : 

G. L. Carpenter, i)resident; Philip Clark, vice president; 
Andrew Aschenbrenner, H. H. Badger, George P. Miller; and 
Mary J . Burnham, secretary-treasurer. 

BANKS 

The First National Bank of Amboy, as shown by its statement 
of Oct. 21, 1913, had a capital of $100,000.00, a surplus and 
undivided profits amounting to $107,690.16, and total assets- of 
$1,155,724.17. The officers of the bank are, Fred N. Vaughan, 
president; Elijah L. King, vice president; H. H. Badger, cashier, 
and L. L. Brink and W. B. Vaughan, assistant cashiers. The di- 
rectors are F. N. Vaughan, E. L. King, E. L. Price, H. W. Hilli- 
son, W. V. Jones, W. A. Green, P. M. James, Philip Clark and 
H. H. Badger. 

The Amboy State Bank, was established in Decembei-, 1912, 
with a capitalof $25,000.00: on Oct. 22, 1913, it reported assets to 
the amount of $84,624.14. The officers and directors of the ])ank 
are: George P. Mller, president; F. W. Harck, vice president; 
R. W. Ruckman, cashier; and Messrs. F. C. Halev, Jarvis Leake, 



28ti HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Cleoige Malach, J. A. Joues, A. U. Fristoe, R. W. Jamison and 
John Daehler. 

INDUSTRIALISM 

Tlie crying need iii Ambu}' i.s the establislnnent of industries 
that will fui-nish work for our young people so that they will not be 
compelled to go elsewhere to lind emi^loyment. 

Tlie John P. Harvey Bridge and Iron Works occupies com- 
modiLius quarters with high grade machinery, and is engaged in 
concrete and structural steel work. Mr. Harvey employs ten men, 
and his pay roll for labor for 1913 amounts to $6,500.00 per year 
and material $10,500.00. 

Tlie Sanitary Creamery Company purchases milk and cream 
and sells milk, cream and butter. It has twelve employees in its 
serA'ice, and last year paid out $71,296.85 for milk and cream and 
$7,118.00 for labor. The officers of the company are P. M. James, 
president; H. H. Badger, vice president, and J. C. MacKinnon, 
secretary-treasurer and general manager. 

The Entorf Filter Company, Amboy, 111., was incorporated on 
April 17, 1913, with a capital stock of $15,000.00. The company is 
engaged in the manufacture of the Entorf water separating filter 
for gasoline, kerosene and similar oils. The officers are Charles A. 
Entorf, president, and Carl P. Baird, secretary-treasurer. 

MASONIC 

Illinois Central Lodge, No. 178, A. F. and A. M., with 112 mem- 
bers : W. B. Vaughan, W. M. ; B. B. Lewis, S. W. ; J. C. Mac- 
Kinnon, J. W. ; Y. B. Andruss, secretary; L. L. Brink, treasurer; 
W. L. Berr>mian, S. I). ; Andrew INIyers, J. D. : ^Y. F. Graves, S. S. ; 
Edward Morris, J. S. ; W. F. Entorf, organist ; T. B. Fisher, chap- 
lain ; W. P. Long, tyler. 

Amboy Cliai)tcr 194, R. A. M.. with KU members: W. J. 
Edwards, E. H. P.; John C. MacKinnon. K.: W. B. Dewey, S. ; 
John Reeves, secretary ; W. P. Long, trcasnrci' ; J. H. Ayres, C. H. ; 
J. P. Johnson, P. S. • A. A. ( ^armicliael, R. A. C. : C. F. Dewey, 
M. 3 Y.: F. C. Hegcit. M. 2 Y.: d. P. Brierton, M. 1st W. : R. L. 
\'iiuil. sentinel ; \'. !>. Andi'uss. cliaplain : !>. B. Lyons, stewai'-d. 

AMBOY ORnKREASTKUN Sl\l! WITH 131 M KMBERS 

Mrs. .1. P. llone.wutt, W. M. ; :\ri-. J. P. Honeycutt, W. P.; 
All's. Mai\ l)a\is. A. M. ; Mrs. AFande Bi'ierton. secretary: Mr. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 287 

John Reeves, treasurer; Mrs. Clara Cariuielmel, conductress; Mrs. 
Vera Peoples, A. C. ; Miss Mae Searls, Ada ; Mrs. Grace Brink, 
Ruth ; Mrs. Helen Vaughau, Esther ; Mrs. Ella Walters, Martha ; 
Miss Mary Wood, Electa: :\Irs. E^annie Doty, Warder; V. B. 
Andruss. sentinel ; ]\lrs. W. B. Dewey, marshal : Mrs. Sarah Brier- 
ton, chaplain; Stella M. Klein, organist. 

M. W. OF A. 

Aniboy Camp No. 158, ^W M. of A. Membership 12U. E. H. 
Barlow, counsel ; G. M. Finch, advisor ; W. P. Ijong, banlver ; W. B. 
Vaughan, clerk; E. J. Conderman, escort; Charles Kastler, watch- 
man ; Dr. C. A. Zeigier, physician ; W. F. Graves, C. W. Maine and 
Ai. Tuttle. managers, and R. E. Bissell. sentry. 

K. OF c. 

Keenan Council No. 740, Knights of Colmnbus, was instituted 
June 21, 1913, with forty-five charter members, which has since 
increased to 147. The present officers are : 

Grand knight, William E. Clark ; deputy gTand knight, John P. 
Canavan ; chancelor, Charles W. Ral)bitt ; financial secretary, John 
P. Hanuuond; advocate, D. M. Reilley ; treasurer, Paul P. Reilley; 
chaplain. Rev. T. J. Cullcn; lecturer. Rev. P. S. Porcella; inside 
guard, John J. Edwards; outside guard, L^^nan T. Callahan; 
trustees, Philip Clark. J. P. Harvey and F. W. Meyer. 

a:\ib()Y co:\r:\rKii(iAT. club 

Amboy Connnercial Chili has eighty members and the officers 
and directors are as follows; 

W. T. BerrAinan, president ; H. H. Badger, vice ]u-esident ; 
F. L. Doty, treasurer; B. B. Brewer, secretary; G. L. Carpenter, 
W. E. Clark, D. L. Berry, directc .rs. 

This club was incorporated in 1911 ; has commodious rooms in 
the Entorf building and is doing nu;ch for the commercial interests 
of the city. 

I. 0. 0. F. 

Green River Lodge No. 999, L O. O. F. was instituted April 26, 
1911. at Aniboy. It has seventy members at present time. 



288 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Officers are: T. O. Clink, N. G.; Oscar Wilhelm, V. G.; A. A. 
Virgil, secretary; J. F. Hook, treasurer; R. S. Brown, warden; 
George I. Welch, conductor; E .S. Coates, chaplain; J. S. Conkrite, 
inside guard; supeiintendents of N. G., J. A. Church and L. A. 
Emery; superintendents to V. G., E. H. Barlow and E. F. Barnes; 
W. L. Eddy, P. G.; R. L. Bissell, representative; J. A. Church, 
Dept. 




REY^'OLDS p:vaxi;kltcal ( iiri;i II. m:ai! ashtox 




MAIN STKKI'rr, WKST, ASllTON 



CHAPTER XIX 
ASHTON TOWNSHIP 

And here is another resource of okl Inlet ! Until 1861 it was 
included in Bradford township. In 1861, it was set off by itself. 
It contains but one-half a government township. 

Ashton was not settled early for the reason that, knowing the 
land was exceedingl}' lich and fertile, speculators later bought up 
nearly the whole township. Xot a single settler is known to have 
settled here in the thirties and even not until the late forties when 
in 1818, Erastus Anderson settled here. A few weeks later his 
brother Timothy followed. In December their father followed. 

In 1849 a man named Hubbard settled in the western part of the 
township, and in 1852 Daniel Suter located in the town and so did 
H. Sanders. 

Another reason for the absence of settlers was the lack *>t 
timber. Old settlers demanded fuel. They feai'ed the prairies 
over which the winds whistled. Then too, there was no great road 
or trail through that section and naturally settlers would not seek 
the country so long as claims nearer the ti'ail were to be had. 

The entrance of the Galena and Chicago Union railroad in 
1854, gave this region its first unpetus. 

The first church erected in Ashton was the Methodist, in 1863. 
It was a temporary Inulding to hold down the donation of a lot 
until a bettei' could be built. The second church was a Free Metho- 
dist Church Imilt in 1864 and it is claimed for itself to be the first 
of that denonnnation to l)e built in the state. Among the first 
members were Jonathan Dake. Sidney and Melville Beach, Sylves- 
ter Forbes, Charles Butolpk, Isaac ]\Iartin, Samuel Walker, James 
Reed, William Martin ; Rev. J. G. Terrol was the first pastor. 

The third church was built in 1866 by the Catholic people with 
a membership of fifty. The Christian Church was built in 1868. 

289 



290 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Among its first members were F. Nettletoii, J. P. Taylor and Peter 
Plautz. At first the meetings were held in a schoolhouse. 

The CJerman Baptist chiirch was built just outside of the village 
to the south in 1866. 

In 1877 the Presbyterians erected their church. Their first 
minister was Rev. S. Vale. Among the earliest members were 
Samuel F. Mills, Nathan A. Petrie and Messrs. Pollock, Griffith, 
Huston and Brewer. 

Ashton is a wonderful little city. Beginning with 1863 it has 
been visited several times with very destriactive fires. The grain 
elevator, loss $2,000 and the flouring mills, loss $60,000, were 
burned. In 1871, the railroad property, which consisted of two 
tanks, the depot and a coal house with 3,200 tons of coal were con- 
siuned. A hunberyard and foui' dwelling houses went too. The 
coal house was the origin. Ijoss $75,000. In 1871 the hay press and 
an elevator were burned ; loss $30,000. 

Several tragedies have been enacted in Ashton. of the most 
atrocious character. A preacher named Sanuiel P. McCrhee, a 
married man, in 1877 became infatuated with another woman. By 
the use of strychnine, administered in small quantities he pi;t his 
wife out of the way. When first taken ill, the doctor was called. He 
attended her constantly, but the trouble was not discovered until 
later. The last dose was administered by the husband just before 
he left for church to preach and hold his usual Sunday services. 
He was arrested at once and placed in jail. At first he tried to 
fasten the blame on his fourteen-year-old daughter, and he suc- 
ceeded in having her sign an acknowledgment to that effect. But 
the jury did not lielieA'e him. He was seen to throw the package 
containing the last dose on an awning. It was recovered and used 
in evidence. 

Tn this trial which lasted about a Avt'ek before Judge Heaton 
and a jury. Judge John V. Eustace defended the ])risoner. As 
already stated it was one of the noted trials in the state, and Judge 
Eustace presented a masterfid defence. If he had not, the verdict 
of ginlty and fourteen years, would have been for life or hanging. 

Mc(!hee was a sl(>ek fellow; his long silky beard almost black, 
was regai-ded with the same affection that the jX'acock has for his 
brilliant tail. Duiiiig all the long trial, he stroked it continually. 
The other tragedy was enacted but recently Aug. 18, 1912. It was 
a frightfid one. 

Warren Saudeis had uiari'ied Westanna (irifHth. a youiig girl, 
almost vounti' eiiouti'h to l>e classed a child. She was handsome. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 291 

lu time a child was burn, little Naomi. Later the couple parted. 
Sauders lacked the knack uf getting along in the world. At tirst 
the father-in-law permitted him to occupy the old home farm. 

He did not succeed there and experimented with other i^ursuits 
in town. At last Mrs. Sauders, left him and with the child, went 
to live with her parents. Reconcilements were effected, but for no 
lasting time. About a year l^efore the tragedy occurred, Mrs. 
Sanders went to Chicago to seek employment. Sanders followed 
and for a short while they lived together. Another separation 
followed. Mrs. Sanders procured a divorce. Later the decree was 
reopened and thei'e the matter stojud, when learning from the 
daughter at Ashton, that his wife was to return to Ashton that 
night for a visit, Sanders waited till the train arrived that night, 
about 1 o'clock, and when his wife alighted, he deliberately shot 
her two times and she dropped dead on the station platform. Theu 
turning to his mother-in-law, Mrs. Melva Griffith, who had brought 
the little daughter, Naomi, down to the train, he shot the mother- 
in-law twice, and then surrendered himself. He pleaded guilty to 
the indictment for murder and Judge Farraud sentenced him to 
life imprisonment. ^Ir. Harry Edwards made a remarkalily able 
prosecution, and Mr. John E. Erwin made a brilliant defense. 
Asht( m is one of the richest communities in this part of the state. 
Way ])ack in the sixties. Mills & Petrie sold $109,000 worth of 
general merchandise in one year in A,shton and today in the little 
"\'i]lage the Ashton bank presents a statement of three-qiu^rters of a 
million dollars, almost. Two of the very oldest, almost the very 
lirst Inisiness men of Ashton live there today. They are Samuel F. 
Mi\ls and Nathan A. Petrie. 

In 1854 Mr. ]\fills came here and engaged in the grain and lum- 
ber trade. In 1858 ]\Ir. Petrie, his cousin, joined him and ever 
since the lives of those two gentlemen have been wrapped up as 
one. For years it was their custom to dress alike ; to wear mous- 
taches alike. The}^ were married on the same evening, and for 
most of their married lives, they lived together. Now JNIr. Mills is 
eighty-three years old and the devotion of Mr. Petrie, twelve years 
his junior, is even more l)eautiful than Jonathan's devotion to 
David. 

About two years ago Mrs. Mills died. ]\Ir. Mills and she had 
returned to the old family home in Parrish, New York, where, 
retired, the comforts of the old home and the glamour of childhood 
scenes might be enjoyed. On the death of Mrs. Mills, the husband 



292 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

returned to Ashtou, where, thoiigli .somewhat iufirin, he enjoys 
the atmosphere of his early successes. 

In 1861, these gentlemen gave up the grain business for general 
merchandizing. In this they made fortunes. In 18G7 they entered 
the banking business. A few years ago the}' incorporated as The 
Ashton Bank. 

Sidney Beach came out to <_)gle county in 1838, later he moved 
across the line to Ashton; James King came to Bradford in 1854, 
later he moved into Ashton ; Peter Plantz moved from Ogle county 
into Ashton in 1856 ; Melville Beach, 1852 ; Riley Paddock settled 
in Ogle county in 1837, later he moNcd to Asliton ; Erastus Ander- 
son settled in Ogle count\' in ISK); in 1848 he moved to Ashton 
township; Flenry Saunders. Ji-., came here from Ogle county. 
Thus it will be seen that most of the tirst settlers moved from Ogle 
county, immediately north, and Bradf(U'd, immediately south. 

What Kalamazoo is to the celery market, Ashton promises to 
be to the asparagus market. 

Al)out twelve years ago, Mr. Benton Driinniiond planted seven 
acres to asparagus. The next year he planted five acres, making 
a total of twelve acres. 

In three years time after j)lanting, the grass began to yield a 
crop for market. By careful tillage and very heavy einichmeuts 
each \ear, the field now yields annuallx' tlu'ce thousand cases of 
choice grass. During the season j\li-. Drummond liires seven peo- 
ple to cut and ])ack this grass. At first he shipped to Cliicago. but 
the quality of his ])rodiiet s])rea(l so rapidly that very soon he was 
deluged with offers in other ijhices, and latterly, all of his ship- 
ments have been made to Milwaukee. 

Mr. Di'ummond's i;i'ass is labeled "'I'lie lh-iimuioiid (irass," 
and is known and ]>rized in excry asparagus market. 

In every crate there are twenty-four Ixixes. Every afternoon 
the grass is ship])e(l on the four o'clock east bound train and arrives 
that evening in Milwaukee. 

Since Mr. l)runnnond"s success has become so ])ronouiice(l, 
eight others have jilanted fields, so that now, Ashton fui-nishes 
about nine-tenths of the as])aragus which goes into the (~^hicau'o 
market. 

ASHTON OF TODAY 

Sitting snugly in the midst of land, a piece of which sold 
recently for .f:'()() ]iei' acre, Ashton should not be blamed if she were 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 293 

Yain. But she's uot. A more hospitable people cannot Ix' f<uuid 
in the county than in Ashton. 

The peo]ile are a church ftoini"', industrious and well ti> do peo- 
ple. There ai'e no saloons here and tliere have l)een none for a 
long time. There are about one thousand people hei'e at present 
I am told. Ashton is the home of several fraternal orders. Ash- 
ton L(»dge, 977, 1. O. O. F., is a very prcjsperous body. Frank 
Hart is noble grand ; Arthur Dugdale is vice grand ; E. J . \''enerick 
is secretary and F'aust Boyd is treasurer. Rebekah I^odge, 497, 
has a la]'ge membersliip. Its officers are as follows: Mrs. Lura 
Dngdale, noble grand; Mrs. JNIary Gilbert, vice grand; Mrs. Myrtle 
Zeller, jiast grand; Mrs. Tda Bassler, secretary; Mrs. Olga H(»wey, 
treasurer; Miss (Uara Bode, warden; Miss Lena Bode, conductor; 
Mrs. Alice Hann, chaplain; Mrs. Dora Putnian, R. S. X. O.; Miss 
Hattie Bi'own. T>. S. N. (;.; Mrs. Ora Beach, R. S. V. G.; Miss 
(Jertrude Fell. L. S. \. (i.; Miss Lucy Hart, inside guard; Mr. 
•lohu \'au]»el, outside guard. 

Following is the roster of the officers of the R. N. A., Myrtle 
Dade Camj) 6061: Mrs. Earl Howey, oracle; Mrs. George Van 
Ness, vice oracle; Mrs. George Putman, past oracle; Mrs. Adam 
Eisenberg, chancelor; Miss Minnie Aschenln'enner, recorder; Miss 
Ida Eisenbei'g, receiver; George Putman, manager; Mrs. Roland 
Eisenberg, marshall; Mrs. John AVeishaar, inside sentinel: Mrs. 
Gonrad Smith, outside sentinel. 

The Masonic body is veiy strong. Following are tlu' officers of 
Ashton Lodge, 531, A. F. & A. M. : John Drunnnond, worshipful 
master; Garl Schade, senior warden; Ralph S. Charters, junioi- 
Avarden; George R. Charters, treasurer; Roy AY. Jeter, secretary; 
Charles Hunter, senior deacon; Jacob B. Farver, junior deacon; 
Fred C. Mall, senior steward; Paid AY. (Charters, J!uii(U' steward; 
Laban T. ]Moore, marshall; Fh'ed A. Richardson, chai)lain; John 
D. Charters, organist; Charles Tuck, tyler. 

O. E. S. : Mrs. Lewis Siudlinger, W. M. ; M. X. Glenn, W. P. ; 
Mrs. Ed Chadwick, Associate M. ; Mrs. Doll Orner, secretary; 
Mrs. Joseph Y^^etzel, treasurer. 

M. AY. A., ( 'amp X>». 4S : George F'utuiaii is \\ C. ; R. J. Dean, 
clerk; Jo Mall, banker. 

Mystic AA^orkers: AA^. F. Klingebiel, prefect; Miss L(Mia AI. 
Howard, secretary ; John Oesterheld, banker. 

' The Asht(»n churches are all handsome structures. Of the 
Methodist Episcopal church. Rev. A. E. Ullrich is pastor. The 
Sunday school of this church is a marvel. Ralph J. Dean is the 



29-t HISTORY OF LEP: COUNTY 

veiy abk' .superiuteiuk'iit. The Men's class of Mr. A. W. RoseeraiH 
has a membership of 85 men and the average attendance is 5(i. In 
the school there are 201 members. 

Of the Presbyterian chnrch, Rev. McWherter is the pastor. 
He presides over the Franklin Grove ehnreh, too, I nnderstand. 
Rev. Mack is the pastor of the Lntheran church. All of 
these buildiut^s are frame. Tlie United Evangelical, German, is 
a brick structure and Rev. George Walter is the pastor. Of the 
Catholic church, the pastor at Rochelle ministers to its meml)ers. 
Thus it will l)e seen why Ashton enjoys so much comfoi't and win- 
so many good things aboiuid there. The schools too are of tln' 
highest order. 

The new school l)uilding which cost >(^:15,()()() is the best equipped 
school building in the comity liy all odds. It is ])ositively tire 
proof. It was occupied Dee. 8, last. The present enrollment is 
185. There are eight grades and a four-year high school course. 
Diplomas from this school are recognized by the colleges and uni- 
versities Avhich of itself speaks volumes for the high character 
of the Ashton schools. There are three teachers in the high school 
courses. Prof. J. Nofsinger, su}>erint('ndent; Miss Eva Nelch. 
principal and Miss Alice Eddy, assistant principal. In the four 
lower rooms where eight grades are taught, the teachers are .John 
Absher, Miss Minnie Scliade, Mrs. Pearl Bilhnire and Miss Eena 
Bode. 

The nicnihers of tlie school Ixiard are S. T. Zcllcr, ]>resi(lciit: 
Dr. H. A. I>i'enuner, clerk, and E. (\ Shippee. 

While dwelling on the schools I may as well give the following 
histcuical sketch wi'itten in 1909: 

"More than a hall' a century has passed since the educational 
interests of the village of Ashton Ix'gan. The cai'ly inhaliitants of 
the village were lai'gely of Irish descent. To the north it was 
(entirely American while to the south tlu're wei-e some English 
peo]»le and a small settlement of French. The thrifty (Ternian 
p(t])ulation is of more recent years. Xo \-ei'\' learned oi- cultni'ed 
classes seem to have gilded the fair name of Ashton in an early 
(lay. ^Fost emphatically the ])eo]ile of today are descendants of 
the coniiiion people, the tillers of the soil, of which we ha\c no 
I'egl'ets to exprt^SS. 

"As early as 1859 a school election was held in the village of 
Oiile and elected James Brecumer, Daniel Suter and (^e(U'ge (ilenn 
as directoi's. 'I'he I'ecords have it that the first school in the plac(> 
where Ashton now stands was tauiiht b\' J. A. Andrus who acted 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY i2!i5 

in tliis capacity for several terms. The first assistant was David 
A. Glenn. Among the early assistants were Aiaria Eradstreet, Miss 
Kate Buck, Avho tanght for the stated snm of .^10 per month, and 
Miss Margaret Cartwright who was engaged for $12.50 per month 
and furnish her own l)oard. Allies Tennyck and (leorge Brewei- 
were also among the early teachers of the school. Tlie ahove 
teachers taught in an old stone schoolhouse with a frame wing 
located on the south side of the jn-esent school lot. 

"In 1860 the In.ard of trustees were ( '. ,1. AVilsoii, J. B. AVil- 
liams and D. G. Shotteukirk. 

"The first school treasurer Avas Aaron Weeks. 

"Owing to the needs and increasing demand for ))etter school 
advantages there was considerable discussion as to the possibility 
of a new school building. Tlie agitation grew and fomid liearty 
cooi)eration among the more progressive people of the village. 
These affairs took definite shape when an election was held which 
resulted in the decision for a new building. There was considerable 
contention over a location for the new building. Two sites wei'e 
under consideration l)y the people. One side favored the site 
where the present school liuilding is and the other the more ele- 
vated location where the Catholic church now stands. After a 
considerable excitement ovei' the contending locations tlie old one 
was chosen and was made larger by the district ])urchasing the 
lot to the north which made tlie i)resent school grounds. Tlie 
trustees at the time of the new building were Henry tilenn, Henry 
Bly and Aaron Weeks. W. H. Emerson was clerk when the school 
site was chosen. 

"The material f(n' the building was obtained in the quarry on 
the north edge of the village. James Quick superintended the 
work and a Chicago architect designed the style of the building. 
Among those that worked upon the Imilding were Isaac Earl, 
Wilburn Earl, and J. S. Thompson : the latter making the pattern 
work for the stone. There is no accurate record as to the actual 
cost of the building, but upon iuqinry we find that a bond of $19,000 
was given by the district and other additional expenses brought 
the cost u|) to $23,000. The building was completed in the fall of 
1869 and school was begun in the new building the fii'st Monday 
after New l^ears, 1870, with H. M. Halleck as principal. 

"No town in this part of the state could l)oast of better school 
advantages at this time than Ashtou. The building was a monu- 
ment to the district and was considered superior to any in this 
section of the c(nintrv. Eoreicn scholars from a radius of manv 



296 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

miles were eurolled as nieinl>ei's of the Asliton High School, there 
being so many that it was necessary to utilize a portion of the 
upper hall for a part of the scholars. During the history of 
the school which covers a period of forty years there have been 
seventeen principals. The tirst high school assistant was Miss Olive 
Rogers. Among the most successful of the early principals were 
M. B. Phillips, A. W. Rosecrans and H. V. Baldwin. There are 
other good teaehei's that preceded and followed these and did 
their share t<»wards raising the school to a higher standard, but 
there can jje no ^-alid objection in giving these men the lumor of 
such successful effort. 

"Many able scholars and professional men have had their pre- 
])aratory work in this school. The first class that graduated from 
the school was under M. E. Phillips in 1874. The class consisted 
of layman Booth, Mrs. Westana Glenn Rosecrans and Mrs. Mag- 
gie Brown Byers. Since that time many good classes have been 
gi-adiiated from the school whose members are prcmd that the Ash- 
ton High School is their alma mater. The Ashton High School 
Alunmi Association is a flourishing organization and its influence 
will be a force foi' good for the sclioo]. ' 

"The influence of the former students and the general inter- 
est of the patrons of the school and the people of the village is 
the best evidence of the spirit and success of the school. 

"Perhaps some <>t the older inhabitants of tlic village, as well 
as the younger generation, will l)e interosttMl in the above .sketch. 
To the critical reader some errors may be detected in data and 
names, but often school recoi'ds are poorly kept and errors in 
dates are vei'y frequeut and sometimes annoyingiy so, and for 
this reason much of the information has been obtained from 
in(|uiry. ^Nlere facts have only been stated and some one after me 
has the field for embellishment." 

Possibly another reason why Ashton enjoys so much praise 
as not only a Wvr village but one so nughty clean, is because its 
municii)al affairs are conserved so creditably l)y its officers: J. 
B. Parver, president; Ral])h J. Bean, clerk; Harry Pierce, E. 
J. Yenerick, Clifford Knapp, Charles Tuck. Adam Strabe and 
J. W. Griese, trustees. Ashton townshi]> and its sui'rounding 
territory ai'e I'egarded as a German coimnuuity very largely and 
that of itself assures Ashton of W(>alth aiul stnrdiiiess of char- 
acter. 

Charles Heilienthal is su]iervisor ; Fred Beach is collector; S. 
T. Zellei', Sr., is assessor and the liii;ii\va\' coiiniiissioiiers are C. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 297 

W. Bowers, Hemn' Reitz and Earl Howey. George Stephan is 
town clerk. 

Naturally in listing the business houses of a place, the banks 
come into view first. The Ashton Bank is a very prosperous con- 
cern. Its history has been noticed already. Its published report 
Jan. 20th. last, shows loans, $42U,UUU; bonds, $62,000; cash 
means, *79.000. Its capital stock is $50,000 and its surplus is 
$25,000. Its deposits are $482,253.10. 

The Farmers Bank was organized April 10, 1905. its presi- 
dent is W. C. Yenerick; vice president, Lewis Sindlinger; cashier, 
E. J. Yenerick and the directors are W. C. Y''enerick, Lewis Sind- 
linger, John M. Killmer. William Krug and Will Sandrock. The 
beautiful new building f(n' this bank will be ready for occupancy in 
a very short while. Thus equii)ped the Ashton lianks will have the 
finest homes to be found in any small town in the state. By state- 
ment dated January 19th, this bank is shown to have a capital 
stock of $25,000 and undivided profits of $3,234.42. Its deposits 
are $104,414.21. Its cash means are approximately $20,000. 

At the present time, Ashton markets 450,000 bushels of grain 
every year. Before the elevators were Iniilt down at iNIiddlebury 
on the electric road which runs from T^ee Center, Ashton shipped 
650,000 bushels, and inasmuch as the Middlebury houses are run 
by Ashton ]ieople. it might be classed as Ashton grain to this very 
day. 

The two grain elevators of Ashton are run l)v O. C. Baker and 
R. W. Jeter! 

A little further up the track, Nathan Sanders has his sheep 
yards. Annually, Mr. Sanders feeds thousands of sheep which 
are taken off here in transit and he feeds them until they are fully 
rested from their usually long journey from the West. Some- 
times he buys and feeds his own sheep: but he prefers feeding for 
others. This business amounts to a larg(> ju-ofit annually. 

The ]diysicians are I)rs. William Petersmyer, C. ^l. Cheadle, 
H. A. Bremmer, E. M. Sheldon and James Brown. Dr. S. C. 
Gould is a D. I). S.. and so is C. R. Root. H. L. Windei' is the 
veterinarian. 

The]'e are no lawyers in Ashton: just why is inexplicable 
because in the probate court at least, there is a vast amount of 
legal business for this comnumity to be transacted. 

The business houses of the Ashton of today are: A. W. Rose- 
cranv. general store: C. W. Jonker, jeweler: Harry Pierce, bar- 
ber: O. R. Thartei-s & Son. drugs: Rnndlc Sc Lake, shoes; M. N. 



298 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Gleun, hardware; The Passtime theater, picture show, by Philip 
Ereich; Conrad Kliebe, butcher; The H. D. Mosher candy store; 
Mrs. William Fee, gift shop ; Jordan & Paddock, blacksmith shop ; 
Carl Wedler, jeweler; J. 13. F'arver, blacksmith; Philip Ereich, 
pool room; William Meister, livery; ¥. H. Boyd, garage; W. J. 
Sams, blacksmith; J. C. Griffith, lumber and coal; McCade & 
Weishaar, implements; Charles Bode, harness and shoemaking; 
Oscar Schade, pool room; Louis Sindlinger, tinner; F. P. Eisen- 
bei'g, 10 cent novelty store; George Stephan, furniture and under- 
taking ; P. I. Smith, drugs ; Adam Faber, lunch room and cigars ; 
E. S. Rosecraus, clothing; W. B. McCrea, grocer; postoffice, Har- 
low E. Chadwick, postmaster; Clifford Knapp, plumlxu- and auto 
dealer; Joseph A. Roesler, grocer; William Leslie, implements and 
coal ; Griffith & Moore, automobiles ; L. T. Moore, harness and bug- 
gies; Yentler and Klingeluel, implements and automobiles: C. S. 
Kron, hotel and restaurant ; G. A. Haniel, general merchandise ; 
George Van Ness, barber; George Geyer, harness; Henry Nel- 
son; William Schade, cigars, paints and oils and C. W. J( inker, 
jeweler, a very strong array of very strong business men. The 
Illinois Northern Utilities Company supplies Ashton with elec- 
tricity and power. Ashton has the only municipal gas plant in 
the county. The streets are well lighted with 300-candle power 
electric lights, one on each corner. Cenient walks have been laid 
before every building in Ashton and every vacant lot as well. 

In Ashton township there arc tiA'c quari-ies from which the 
very best of sandstone is taken. Once these quarries did a thriv- 
ing business, but cement now foiins so sti'ong a competitor that 
but little is quarried. 

Ashton townshi]) and village lead all other conununities, exce]»t 
Dixon, and perhaps. Lee Center, with macadam roads. This town 
has spent large sums of money for roads. Only a short while ago 
.$20,000 Avas expended in making hard I'oads. Every main road 
in the townsliip has been macadamized. Ashton is blessed with 
one of the best local news])apers in the State of Illinois. Mr. 
Raljih J. Dean, the proprietor, makes every train ; he is constantly 
on the alert for locals with the result that every week he gives his 
readers about eight colunms of locals besides a front page full of 
good matter pertaining to his locality. In connection with his 
Y>vmt shop Avhich turns out the vei'v best of job work, Ylr. Dean 
owns the only book stoi'e of Ashton. He is a very active wire, a 
money makei' and saver and I put him down as the most com- 
fortable news]»a]ier man in the county. 



CHAPTER XX 
BRADFORD TOWNSHIP 

Bradford! Another subdivision of Inlet! In Bradford the 
best and sturdiest of Lee county's poi)ulation was started — the 
Norwegians, now so populous and prosperous; the Germans too 
started in Bradford. 

John Hotzell came here about 1842, and he and Ommen Hillison 
kept bachelors" hall (separately) a long while before marrying. 
Christian Reinhart's daughter, Catherine, married Ommen 
Hillison and later John Aschenbrenner. The mother of Henry W. 
Hillison and Reiuhart Aschenbrenner and Andrew Aschenbren- 
ner came in 1845. Reinhart Gross came in 1847. 

The history of the Germans is identical with that of the Nor- 
wegians. Friends back home desiring to come to America, came 
directly to the home of their old friend Hotzell. The latter was 
hospitable and he cared for them all as one by one and more came 
over. A day or two was all that was needed ; then they sought work 
and later lands, always imder the guidance of Neighbor Hotzell 
whose counsel Avas always good. Thus early. Bradford took on its 
reputation for solidity which ever since has characterized the 
place. When one speaks of Bradford, he is known to indicate the 
township where lands always are rising in value until perhaps, 
Bradford is tlie highest priced laud in the county. 

At the last session of the board of supervisors, Bradford was 
honored in the selection of one of its strongest citizens, John J. 
Wagner, for the office of chaii'man. 

Bradford was settled very early and Inlet was the point from 
which the settlers scattered into what now is Bradford. 

For a lung time Bradford contained its present six-mile sqiiare 
area and the present toA^Tiship of Ashton as w^ell, and so it remained 
until 1861, when Ashton was set off as a township by itself. Brad- 

2f)9 



300 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ford obtained its name from Bradford, Pennsylvania, wlience 
man}' of its population came. 

In 1850 the town was organized at the home of Ralph B. Evitts. 
At tlie town meeting Elisha Pratt was made chairman, Thomas S. 
Hulbert, secretary and Charles Starks, moderator; (leorge E. 
Haskell, justice of the peace, swore them in. 

At this meeting Charles Starks was elected supervisor; Ira 
Brcwe)', town clerk; E. AY. Starks, assessor; Samuel S. tStarks, 
collector ; Palph B. Evitts, overseer of the poor ; Sherman Shaw, 
Stephen Clinls; and George I'' ale, highway conunissiouers ; Sanmel 
S. Starks and Paniel Barber, constables ; Elisha Pratt and Lafay- 
ette Yale, justices; Jesse Woodruff was put in charge of the town's 
litigation. 

Meetings were held in pri\'ate houses till J 856, when the school- 
house in Ogle Station, now Ashton, was used. 

As in Inlet, Sherman Shaw was of the very first to build in 
Bradford, and Mr. Whitman in 1838. In 1840 Mr. Shaw l)uilt a 
frame house on the northeast 31. Egbert Shaw has the distinction 
of Iteing the first white child born in Bradford. Ommen Hillison 
built a house about 1840. In 1838 Charles Starks came t(. Inlet 
and in 1839 laid his claim on east Yj northwest 32 and the west Yj 
northeast '.V2. The Whipi)]e In'others came in al)out the same time. 
Starks began work inunediately on his claim and in 1812 moved 
on it. 

George and Milo Y^'ale claimed the northwest 6. In 1812 their 
father, N. C. Yale, settled on section 1; Jesse Woodruff settled on 
32 ; R. B. Evitts on 29 and C. Bowen settled on 29. Stephen Clink 
))uilt a st(nie house. 

In 1842 Elias Hulbert claimed south ' ■_■ southeast 19, and very 
soon thereafter moved u]»on it. -lolni < )wen moved in at about this 
time. 

At the \-er\- earliest ]H'rio<l Lewis ( 'lapp of Lee Center, firm in 
liis regard for Bra<lford, took an interest in pushing the welfare 
of settlers and he fui-nislied money t'oi' fully tAvo-thirds of the early 
settlers to enter theii' land from the Government. Others moved 
in ra])idly; William Ross, Reinhart Gross, Conrad Reinhart 
(already named), Conrad Hotzell. 

Ira l>rewei' readied Lee Center townsliip in June, 1843. That 
same >'ear he bought west ' ■_. northwest 3>2 and east ^ ^ northeast 31, 
I^radford. In 1845 he built a house. 19x24. He became a very 
large land owner in this and Lee ("enter townships. He was one 
of the lien-est enemies of the banditti wiiich infested Inlet and 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY -m 

his son, George W., owus the very compact which was signed by 
the regulators of those da,ys. 

Among the old settlers not already named were: William S. 
Frost, 1838; Lorin T. Wellman, 1848; David Wellmau, 1853; Har- 
low A. Williamson, 1850; Philip Rnnyan. 1850; Peter Eisenberg, 
1852; Lnther Baldwin, 1852; Edwin Pomeroy, 1844; Frank and 
Nelson DeWolf, 1837; Berghai'dt ADn-e.-ht," 1855; Edward W. 
Pomeroy, 1845; 0. Bowen, L. Shmnway, Samuel Cobel, William, 
Warren and Stephen Clink, 1841 to 1843; Ralph B. Evitts, 1842; 
Sherman Shaw, 1839; Elias Ilulbert and El)enezer AVhipple, 1842. 

The Germans which liave ])redominated in this township ever 
since they began settling lici-c. predominate today, and the descend- 
ants of those pioneers are today ricli. almost to the last man. It 
may be said of them too, tliat the fortunes of the tirst settlers have 
been preserved down to tlie third and fourth generation. 

The homes of Bradford are down-to-date, steam-heated, elec- 
tric lighted, and automobiles may be found in nearly every family 
in Bradford. The people are enterprising to an unusual degree 
and in no greater manner can this enterprise have l)een exhibited 
than by the exertions of Reinhart and Andrew Aschenln'enner, 
sons of Catherine Aschenbreinier who hav(^ put over forty thousand 
dollais into the constructhm of the Northern Illinois Electric rail- 
I'oad. r)nly the other day when it went into the hands of a receive]'. 
Andrew Aschenbi'enner was made that I'eceiver by the court. This 
road taps a fertile country and it is the only road in the world which 
affords the farmei- along its line the op]iortuuity to load grain and 
stock at his door. 

Bradford was a pi<nieer in the formation of a mutual insur- 
ance company for members of a particular eonmuniity and this 
company, "The Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company," 
always has been a model. The incorporators were Ira Brewer. 
Ralph B. Evitts, Thomas S. Ilulbert. Charles D. Hart, Valentine 
Hicks, C. F. Starks and George Elulbert. It was incorporated 
March 30, 1869. At its first meeting of directors, held in Novem- 
ber, 1869, fifty-four applications were received and fifty-one wei'e 
approved and signed. 

F(ir many years Ira Brewei' was president of this com])any, 
Samuel Dysart. secretary; C. I). Hart, treasurer; William V. 
Jones, general agent. A million and a (|uarter dollars of risks 
have been written, and the losses have been remarkably few. 

In the southeastern ])art of the township the land is low; it 
was the edge of Inlet swam]). But it has been drained ])erfectly. 



302 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

so that it uuw is valued as hiyli as any otlier lauds iu the towTiship. 
The people of Bradford always have beeu of a religious turn, 
esijeeially the Germans. 

As early as 1850, meetings of tlie Evangelical church of Brad- 
ford were held at the house of John Hotzell, who built just over 
the line in China township. Hotzell htted up a room for the pur- 
pose and vei'y soon a successful ISunday school was started. These 
were the tirst German meetings of Lee county. The preachers 
came from Perkins Grove in Bui-eau county. A man named 
McLean was the hrst ; William Kolp was the next. Among the 
original meml)ers of the congregation were : Reinhart Gross, John 
Aschenbrenner, John Hotzell. the Conrad Reinhart family and the 
Conrad Hotzell family. 

In 1S59 a church was built im section 17 at a cost of $1,300. lu 
1874 an addition was made and a steeple erected at an additional 
cost of $2,700, making a total of .$4,000. The membership today 
is very .strong in both chui'ch and Sunday school. Until recently 
the services wei-e held in the German language. 

It may be interesting to know that Edwin Pomeroy introduced 
the rcapci- into this coumuniitx' and when he used it in the wdieat 
(iclds, farmers fi'oni far and near came to see it operate'. 

In wi'iting a history of things and conditions around lulet, 
one cannot get away from the good works of Ira Brewer and good 
old Uncle (George) Russel Linn. There never was a ci'isis these 
sturdy pioneers feared to meet. Lightei' affairs were managed 
with the same determination to succeed. 

Mr. Brewer miderstood music. Singing scho(»]s were the com- 
mon source of entertainment in every locality. One day Doctor 
Welcli handed to Mr. Ijrewei' a subscri])tiou paper with the request 
that the latter head it and then circulate it. Mr. Brewer did and 
very presently Mr. Brewer foimd himself teaching iu six school - 
houses. The tuning fork used, lie fashioned on the anvil of a 
blacksmith sho}). 

In 1843, when $40 had been raised ])y Daniel Frost and Russel 
Linn, with which to hire a teacher, it was tendered to ^Ii'. Brewer 
foi' a winter's work and he accepted it. He al.so taught night 
school. 

On one occasion when members of the "Grove Association," 
had been called together to settle a claim jaunping case, Mr. 
Brewer responded. The case was over on Temperance hill, where 
a man deliberately jumped a settler's homestead and when the 
association decided he nuist leave ''at once," he refused. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 303 

Uncle Russel Liun rose and said, "Gentlemen, we have eome 
here to make homes for ourselves and our families. The Govern- 
ment has held out inducements for us to come, and we have made 
our h<imes, and we intend to defend them if we die on the defence. 
Then, we hope we have boys that will arise and avenge our death." 

The claim jumper saw Uucle Russel and his seven boys and he 
declared that if he had to kill Uncle Russel and Ms seven boys 
before he could obtain possession of the land he would give it up 
and he did. 




JIAIX STREET, reAXKLlX CKOVE 




STREET SOENE. EK.WKIJX (;K(l\E 



CHAPTEE XXI 
CHINA TOWNSHIP 

By Miss Adella Helinersliausen 

Compiled by Adella Helniersliauseu (member of the New 
England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Mass.), from the 
actnal reports of the early pioneers, and written records furnished 
by members of each family. 

O lovely Lee, at Franklin Grove, 

The sylvan woodlands by ; 
The wild deer there no longer rove, 
The birch canoe no more in cove. 

The creeks and waters nigh ; 
There wood doves call in twilight gloam. 
There white gnlls soar to heaven's dome. 

The tract of the Black Hawk country included in China town- 
ship, is imexcelled in healthfulness of climate, fertility of soil 
and picturesqueness of scenery. From Timothy's bridge to Frank- 
lin Creek, Black Bass, Hansen Pond, passed Iron Spring, Lover's 
Leap, Whipple Cave, on to Steamboat Rock, the lover of Nature is 
entranced as one beautiful view changes into another'. And when 
to this is added the fields of grain, pastures of cattle, and commo- 
dious farm-dwellings a ti'aveler cannot refrain from exclaiming, 
"These gardens! Boundless and beautiful, the prairies!" 

But the crowning glory of China township is the high social, 
intellectual and nioi'al standard of her pioneers. These first fam- 
ilies were descendants of the nation's forefathers, and many of 
them representatives of the noblesse of Europe. The pioneers had 
executive ability, daxmtless courage, and strict piety as tlieir heri- 
tage. 

.■^05 



306 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Eight}' years ago the lirst caljiu was built ou the banlvS of 
Franklin creek, and as the record of this fruitful era unfolds, 
the reader will marvel at the progress made, the marked aljsenee 
of crime, and the sincere and noble goodness of, it seems, all the 
people in all the homes, for all these memorable eighty years. 

Who shall tell "a tale of the timljer lands and the old-time 
pioneers — 'till the faces all shine out in the back log's blaze?" 

Who, ))ut the pioneers themselves, for the history of China 
township from 1834 to 1854 is entirely the history of about twenty 
pioneer families, their kinspeople, the happenings in each cabin, 
the short school sessions, and the occasional church services. So 
far they shall speak. 

For two years after the Black Hawk war the prairies and tiie 
timbei'lands along Franklin creek lay in })rimeval l)eauty. Then 
in 1834 Jephtha Noe built the first cabin in the grove. 

In June, 1835, Col. Nathan Whitney, of Unionville, Ohio, 
traveled along the north side of the grove, searching for a stream 
of running water, as far as the present site of the town of Frank- 
lin Clrove. As Colonel Whitney l)ecame a settler soon aftt'rward, 
he is regarded as the John Dixon <if China townshii^. 

"The Noe House" stood in a jdcturesque, woodland spot. 

The Whitney, Hussey and Helniersliausen families spent their 
first days in China township in "the Noe House," and have 
I'emained permanent settlers. 

The A'eteran pioneer, Charles Harrison, and his son-in-law. 
James Holly, made the first two claims in 1835. Later in the same 
year, David TLtlly made a claim of the southwest quarter of sec- 
tion 35. 

James H<dly built the second log-cabin which stood nearly 
opposite the (icniian I)a])tist clmrcli. and was a landmark foi- many 
years. 

The third family living at the grove in 1835 consisted of Jesse 
Holly, his son David Holly, who had a wife and two children; 
and Samuel Ayerhart. Jesse Holly died Feb. 29. 18(>9. aged 95 
years. 

Strange to relate, none of the settlers of 1835 founded families 
which have remained a half century or more keeping their names 
in memory. Dut while the names of Noe, Harrison and Holly are 
l>artially forgotten, the three settlers of the next year, INForgan. 
Yale and iNlinor, left large families, and well-honored names. 

Also in the s]>i'ing of 1836, Cyrus R. Minor ]»nrehased a claim 
from Mr. Bi'own of eightv acres, east (•!' the tiritve. 



HISTORY OF LEE COL NTY iOT 

In May, 183(i, Kdward Morgan, his wife Xancy, (laughter 
Wilki, a small child, and baby Rachel, with a nephew, Nicholas 
Kinnian, came from Ohio, and settled on the south half of section 



27. 



John Wesley Morgan, born in 1837, was the first child at the 
grove. 

The next log cabin in China township, was that of Edward 
Morgan. 

In Jmie, 183(), Timothy Lockwood Minor broke twenty acres 
of land, now owned by A. W. Crawford, for Col. Nathan Whitney. 

About the lirst of September, 1836. Nathaniel C. Yale, his 
wife ]\Iary, and their family permanently located at the grove. 

Milo Yale was born Dec. 15, 1831, in New Y^ork; moved to 
Illinois in 1836. He was an honored and respected pioneer. He 
moved to Iowa and founded the town of Y^ale. 

December 2, 1836, Cyrus R. Minor, wife. Louise Norton, and 
children, Sarah, Albert, Daniel and David, came from Elba, Cren- 
esee county. New York. 

Cyrus R. Minor was born in 1782 in Massachusetts and died 
in 1846. Mrs. Minor died in 1839. 

The year 1836 closed with the three families of jNIorgan, Y^aU' 
and Minor pei;manently located, se\'eral (daims made, and thirty- 
five people in the settlement. 

Rev. Barton Cartwright, a pioneer Methodist Episcopal min- 
ister, says, "I was born in Auburn. New York, in 1810. I came to 
Illinois in 1833, and met Black Hawk on his way to Washington 
prison. Rev. James McKean was our first preacher in that part 
of the country. He preached all through what are now Ogle, Lee 
and Whiteside connties. I was sent on the circuit in 1837." 

Squire Jeremiah Whipple located near the cave which bears 
his name in March, 1837. 

Joseph Whipi»le was an old line whig and Squire "Jerry" 
Whipple was a strong democrat, both well read in jiolitics, so they 
made the double log-cabin ring with party arguments, ^lost of 
the law suits of the day were tried by Squii-e Whi]iple, who had 
been a justice of the peace in New Y^ork. 

In the winter of 1837, Otis Timothy drove from Buffalo, New 
York. He married, later, Sarah, daughter of Cyrus R. Minor. 

In Juh', 1837, Col. Nathan Whitney came a third time to the 
grove. 

On Feb. 8, 1838, Col. Nathan Whitney, his wife Sarah 
(Gray) Wliitney, one son, Alexis Randolph Whitney, and their 



308 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

daughters, Harriet, Eliza Aiiu, Cornelia; and Dr. and M\h. 
Clregory, came to the grove and located in "the Noe House." 

In the spring of 1838, which set in so early that wild flowers 
bloomed in March, Silas P. Tolman, his wife Mrs. Experience 
(Shaw) Tolman, and son Adrastus Tolman, moved to the i:)resent 
site of Franlilin Grrove. 

During the summer of 1838, John Nichols spent some time 
examining the townshiij and returned to New York to induce his 
daughter's fanuly to locate here. 

In 1838, Amos Hussey, his wife Mrs. Jane Fredonia (Holly) 
Hussey, and theii' two cliildi'cn. Mary and Jesse, came from Penn- 
sylvania. 

In October. 1838, William Henry Helmershausen, Harrison 
Helmershausen, and Philip Staid came from Bangor, Maine. 

William Henry Helmershausen was liorn near Bristol, Lincoln 
county, Massacluisetts, Aug. 25, 181(i, and died at his home on jiai't 
of the original Noe claim, Dec. (>, 1901. 

The second pioneer brother, Harrison Helmershausen, was 
born near Bristol, Lincoln county, Massachusetts, April 13, 1818. 

In 1839 Rev. Erastus DeW^df claimed the east one-half of 
section 2L Thomas Brown from Newjjort, Rhode Island, came 
with him and made a claim. 

In 1839, P]vans Campliel! I'honias. his wife Maiy Ann I'houias, 
and two children, iMary and \A'illiain Henry, came from .Michigan 
to China township. 

The family of ('o(iper are especially rememliered liecause tlie 
dauglitei'. Miss Louisa <_*ooper, tauglit school at "Whii)p]e"s 
Cave" in 1839, and all ti'aditions agree was the first scliool tea<-lier 
at the grove. She married Mr. Warnsley and lived near Tioy 
<i]'ove. In 1843 the Coopei's mo\ cd to LaSalle. 

This vear ('ol. Xatlian ^Vhitney was elected one of three county 
commissioners. 

William Lodei' (iirton was boiii in Peinisylvaina, bSiJO. Sep- 
tember 22, 1856, he married Margaret, daughter of Llenry Irwin. 
He was a member of Company T!, 75th Illinois Infantry, and fell 
while gallantly fighting at Perryville, Oct. 8, 1862. 

In 1839 the Henry Iiwin family came to China townshi]i and 
settled near Edward .Moi-gan's. 

■PHi'. 1840 i:i,i:( Ti(»x. 

Franklin pi'eciuct in 1840 com]n'ised the four townshi])s known 
in 1914 as Nachusa, China, .Ashton and Bradford. An election 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 309 

was held iu the double lug cabin (if Squire Jeremiah Whipple at 
"Whipple's Cave." The judges of election were Cyrus Chamber- 
lain, Jeremiah W^hipple, and Don Cooper. 

China township was also called No. 9 district. On March 7, 
1840, Otis Timothy was elected road supervisor of Xo. 9 district. 

The hrst term of circuit court of Lee county was hekl April, 
1840. This year the new courthouse at Dixon was erected at a 
cost of -^7,000. The money was donated and China township con- 
tributed her share. 

Lorenzo Whiting taught sclio(»l about 1840 near 'I'olman's tim- 
ber, a short distance from the present site of Franklin (Irow. lie 
moved to Bi-adford township, near an old friend, Thomas Doe, and, 
from here was elected to the State Ijegislature, and long known as 
"the farmer senator." 

In the smmner of 1840, Charles Helmershausen, Sr., came 
from Bangor, Maine, and joined his sons, Henry and Hai'rison. 

Sylvanus Colib Helmershausen was ])orn Oct. 17, 1825; died 
Jan. 18, 1912; married Sabina J. F'eliows, of Belvidere, Dec. 20, 
1859; had five children, Ida, F"'i-ederiek, Lillian, Grace and May. 

Xorman Helmershausen, bnii Oct. 2, 1831 ; died Nov. 21, 1908. 

About 1841 Michael Brewen, George O'Connor and Michael 
McFarland lived on Mr. McFarland's claim, neai' the fai'm owned 
hj Robert Sproul. Tliey were three jolly Itachelors from Ire- 
land. 

In August, 1841, the John Leake, Daniel Leake and Edward 
Willars families came from Liverjiool, England, and settled in 
the southwestern part of China township. 

About 1842 the little village of Chaplin was laid out, and 
now forms the part of Franklin Grove west of the schoolhouse. 

Mrs. E. C. Thomas died in August. E. C. Thomas spent the 
winter in Galena. 

August 15, 1842, was the tenth anniversary when the trooj^s in 
Black Hawk's war were mustered out by Lieut. Roliert Andersen, 
and disbanded by Gen. Winfield Scott. So rapid had l)een the set- 
tlement that there were thirty surnames and twenty families in 
China township. At that time the townshiit was called Fi'emont. 

Hai'riet jNL Helmershausen taught school in Lee Center and 
boarded at the home of Russel Linn. As a token of respect for the 
new teacher from Maine, the neAv baby girl in the Linn home was 
named "Harriet." 

In 1842 ]\Lartin Eastwood located in this neighborhood. 



310 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Nathaniel Lewis located here in 1843. The Lewis family ha\-e 
been a credit to the community. 

in 1843, Rev. Joseph and Catherine (AvyJ Eumaert and family, 
and son-in-law, Rev. Christian and Elizabeth (Emmert) Lahman 
and family, came to China township. Both men were German 
Baptist ministers. Rev. Joseph Christian Lahman was born Jan. 
24, 1833, in Adams county, Pennsylvania. 

John D. Lahman was born June 22, 1834, in Maryland. 

No mention of Mr. Lahman 's . family would be complete, if 
"Aunt Sally" was forgotten. Mrs. Sarah (Haughtelin) Myers, 
was born in Adams county, Pennsjdvania, and has been a resident 
of the West since 1857. 

David F. Lahman was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, 
1837. 

This year the Cooper family moved from China township to 
LaSalle. 

Tins year Col. Nathan AMiitney opened his nursery, the 
lirst one in northern Illinois. The settlement at the grove was 
further increased by the advent of Henry S. Buekman, Ira Robin- 
son, and William Clark Robinson. 

In 1844 William C. Robinson and Harriet Mathilda Helmers- 
hausen were married. The family consisted of Henry Clinton, 
Sophia (Airs. Robert McCoy), George Russel, and Georgiana 
Harriet. 

John Leake was born Ajiril 17. 1808, in Leicester, England, 
and came to China toAvnship the latter part nf 1843. 

In Octobei', 1845. Evans Cani])bell I'lionias and Harriet A. 
Whitmore Avere man'icd. One settler says, "At that time there 
were (inly about tixc wagons in ('liina township."* 

Sc])t. l(i. 1S45. Tine Pci-i'cii and Saiali Aiiiic I'cn-cn, his wife, 
sold "a iiaicci of land" in section :!, and inoxcd away. During 
Tliis ycai' the settlement of ('hina toAvnship was increased by the 
family of .Jacob Riddlesbarger. 

Tile year 184(i saw several changes in the settlement of China 
township, dames Dysart came to the west and secured one-half 
section of land, a piece for each of his children. The Dysai't 
bidtliei-s Avere all located in China toAvnslii]) liefore 1800. The 
Dysart family was founded by dose])h and Alexander Dysart of 
iioi'th Ireland, who located at Tjancaster c(nnity. Pennsylvania. 

In an eulogy on Hon. Sanuiel Dysart it is stated. "He made 
farming his chief occu])ation. Always an admirei' of tine stock 
h(^ early leai'jied to distingnish the uood points of a horse aiid to 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 311 

judge uf the merits of cattle aud swiue and even in boyhood had a 
desire to raise thoroughbred stock. In 1855 he settled in China on 
the 'Pines Stock Jj^arm.' " 

William Dj^sart began to farm his land in section 21, China, 
in 1850. 

On April ], 18-16, a son named George W. was born into the 
family of Martin Eastwood and his wife, Mary E'isher. 

About 1847 Mrs. Sarah (p]dmonds) Nettleton taught school 
in China township. One of her schools she taught in the scliool- 
house east of Amos Hussey's homestead. 

Eeinhart Cross was born Sept. 26, 1829, in Kur-Hessen, Ger- 
many. His wife, Martha Rcinhai't, was born in 1835, came to 
America 1848. He died Oct. 7, 1902. She died January, 1882. 

Ezra Withey, his wife Abigail (Bradberry) Withey, and chil- 
dren, George C. and Aljigail, settled at the grove. The family 
came from Maine in 1847. 

Mr. and Mrs. Withey were able suppoi'ters of the Methodist 
Episcopal church. 

In this year China townshi]) suffered a tragedy from the hands 
of the banditti of the prairies. At least the closest search and 
careful investigation could offer no other plausible cause except 
that a band of the banditti on the way noi'tli on a horse raid, saw a 
light in the cabin of Moody Thompson, a man with no family, and 
sacked the house and mnrdered him and Olig Gannorson, his 
guest. In fact some years later one of the band of l)anditti then 
under sentence confessed to having slain two men alone, with a 
piece of timber. 

Alxtut 1848 John Diirfee came and settled south of Col. 
Nathan Whitney's claim. 

Nathan Whitmore taught a school in Timothy Lockwood 
Minoi''s cabin. Only large boys attended it and it was a subseri})- 
tion school. 

During this year. Rev. Christian Lahman laid out ten acres for 
the site of a town. The township was called Fremont, and the 
to\\ii Cha])lin. The Minor Hotel, Charles Ambrose's store and a 
blacksmith slio]) are all the buildings "recollected" as standing 
at this time. 

Rev. Lid^e Hitchcock, who preached in the schoolhouse, in the 
cabin, buried the dead, and kept the scattered pioneers together 
for divine worship, was born April 13, 1813, at Lebanon. New 
York: joined Oneida conference 1834; re-admitted to Rock River 



312 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

conference 1841; supply fur liock Ri\er conference in 1839; 
stationed at Dixon 1811 ; sent to Chicago 1811. 

Members of the Stevens family came in 1819. 

In 1818-49, a postoffice was established, with Abram Brown 
postmaster. The third postmaster was A. R. Whitney. A. L. 
Merritt, Charles B. Bill and Charles Ambrose assisted from time 
to time in the postoftiee. 

The Brecimier family came in 1849. Peter L. Brecunier was 
boi-u in Himtiugton county, Pennsylvania, Feb. 14, 1834, and 
departed this life at his home in F'ranklin Grove, Illinois, Oct. 14, 
1913, aged 79 years, 8 months. 

This year the people of China township became interested in 
an act of the General Assembl}' of the people of the State of Illi- 
nois entitled "an act to provide for the construction of a plank 
road by general law." Api^roved Feb. 12, 1849. To exist thirty 
years. The road made travel easier and many t>f the people sub- 
scribed to the stock. 

With the 3'ear 1850 a new era seemed to dawn. Organization, 
commerce, and general ))usiness de\'eloped. Up to this date the 
history of the township had been the local history of pioneer fam- 
ilies. Fh'om now on we notice towusbi]) and town organization, 
and municipal life. 

About this time John M. Crawford taught school at tlie groxT. 
The James Holly cabin was used as a schoolhouse. He is remem- 
bered as an able teachei'. 

Fremont township was 21, N. R. 10, east and south part of 
T. 22, N. R. 10 east in Lee county. On April 2, 1850, the town- 
ship of Fremont was organized as China township. July 19, IS.IO. 
the organization was completed. George Russel Lynn, who lived 
near Lee Center, named the township for China, Maine, on May 
14, 1S.50. From 1850 to 1S55 town meetings were held at the farm 
of Henry S. Buckman. 

In 1850, the following vote was polled: There were forty-six 
voters. Supervisor, George Russel Lynn, 30 votes; Clerk, Josiali 
Wheat, 45 votes; Assessor. Rev. Christian Lahmaii. 39 votes; Col- 
lector, Moses S. Curtis, 22 votes; Supervisor of Poor, B. Han- 
niun; Commissioners of Highways, Jesse Hale. William Clark 
Robinson, Col. Xatlmu Wliittiev; Justice of iho Peace. Rol)ert 
S]»i'ou]; (Constables, Moses S. Cui'tis and Willinin Clark Roliiusoii. 

Ten highway districts Avere laid out. A f(^uc(^ law was ])ass(Ml 
by conunon consent. 

In 1R51 a lou' house w.ns built east of the Amos TTusse\- h(i-"(>- 
sfead f(U' school and church i»ur]">oses. It was built bv subs,-, ip- 
tiiiii. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 313 

At the town meeting this year there were seventy-seven voters. 
China township has six school districts, the Dysart, the Helmers- 
hauseu, the Franklin Grove, the Pine View, the Sunday and the 
Hillison. 

This year the blacksmith shop on State street in tlie center of 
the block, north of H. I. Lincoln's, was built l)y George W. Pense. 
By his industry and obliging manners Mr. Pense maintained a 
good trade for many years. 

Webster located in the village and took charge of the hotel. 

Davis came, and rented the log house built by Cyrus R. iNIinor. 

Webster built a small stone store on the corner south of Pense 's 
blacksmith shop. Charles Ambrose opened a dry goods store in 
this building. LaFayette Yale clerked in the Amln-ose store. 

Milton A. Crawford was born Aug. 8, 1852, in Lee coimty. son 
of John M. and Mary (Dysart) Crawford. He married Mary M. 
Emmert, daughter of Solomon and Mattie (Kring) Emmert. 

Charles B. Bill was born at Braintree, Vermont, June 15, 1825 ; 
came to Franklin GroA-e in 1852, wliere lie built the first shoe shop 
of that place. 

Henry I. Lincoln came to Franklin Grove May 1, 1853. His 
wife died, leaving him a son, Frank, who married Etta Keyser. 
He married second, Helen M. Nay. 

James Welsh was born Jan. 7,' 1824, and died Oct. 11, 1910. He 
was a carpenter liy trade, and a good citizen. He located in China 
township "in the fifties" and was married three times. 

Louis M. Blaisdell started in the lumber business, and pros- 
pered. S. J. Smith & Co. also tried the same business, but one 
lumberyaixl was all the village could support, and the firm went 
out of l)usiuess. 

In 1853 Adrastus W. Tolman, F. D. Robertson and Rev. Chris- 
tian Lahman laid out the village of Franklin Grove. The name 
was given to the town by John Dixon in honor of his son, Frank- 
lin Dixon. Dixon, Franklin Grove, and Nachusa, are namesakes 
of the Dixon family. It is said Col. John Dement had an inter- 
est in the new callage for several years. 

In 1854, Reiiel Thorp began to buy grain and soon binlt up a 
good business. 

John D. Chambers built a small store north of the track on 
Elm street and William J. Leake started a harness shop. 

Samuel Simmons, Louis M. Blaisdell and Reuel Thorp put up 
residences. 



314 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

A grain elevator was built south of the track. Williams 
opened a grocery store in one end of the elevator. 

Dr. Uriah Crittenden Roe, son of Dr. John and Elizabeth 
(Lyons) Roe, was born at Eddy^dlle, Lyon county, Kentucky; 
died at Franklin Grove, 111. In 1846 he married Almeda Brown, 
a woman of man}^ estimable qualities. 

George W. Hewitt was one of the prominent factors in the 
early history of Lee county, one of the leading physicians of his 
time; possessing a knowledge and skill in medicine and surgery 
that caused his ability to be recognized not only in Lee county, but 
far beyond its boundaries. Dr. Hewitt was a native of Pennsyl- 
vania, born in Middleburg, Dec. 23, 1830. In the spring of 1854, 
the same year, in seeking for a wider field of operation than was 
to be foimd in the older states, he came to Illinois and on the first 
day of May opened an office in Franklin Grove. Here he not only 
established a large practice but became intimately associated with 
the business and social interests of the county. 

Dr. Henry Miller Hemtt married Ida Eliza Jane, daughter 
of Conrad and Maiy (Jones) Durkes, and had three children, 
George Washing-ton, Mai-y Durkes, and Henry Miller Hewitt. 

The family of Dr. David H. and Sarah (Wagner) Spickler 
resided several years in the village. 

This year Rev. Christian Lahman purchased several short- 
horns and began to improve his stock. 

Dr. George W. Hewitt located in tlie \-illauc and ojieued a 
small drug business. 

Henry I. Lincoln purchased the store l)uilt l)y ( ^harles Ambrose 
and went into the dry goods l)usiness. Charles Ambrose then built 
a store north of Pense's blacksmith sho]i. Tliis store lie sold to a 
new firm, "Lahman and Dill." 

During this nienioi'able year the Dixon Air Line of the Chicago 
& Galena Union railroad was finished, and the first train run 
througli the village, Dec. 3, 1854. 

Col. Alvah B. Fitch came as the station agent of the com]iany 
and I'emained in this position for years, until his health failed. 

The William Watson family were early settlers. 

The Benjamin Velie family consisted of L Grace Velie Fox- 
croft; 2, Jennie Velie Guy. had Roy, Ross, and William Gniy: 3, 
Chai'les Velie. 

The Jones family located in the vicinity of Fi'anklin Grove. 
Augustus Jones. 1807-1857, was an early pioneer. 




l'i;i>i:\ I i.liiAN I III i;( li 




MKiHiiliis I Kl'iscdi'AL rillKrn 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 315 

The blacksmith trade was foUowed by Sokniicni Simday aud 
his sons from 1855 to 1914 for tifty-uiiie years in E'raukliu Urove. 
Farming was included, and the sale of agricultural implements. 

•Joseph Winebrenner was a tailor in Franklin Grove from 1855 
until the war broke out, when he enlisted. 

An industrious and honest stonecutter came to town in 185G, 
and his work aided nuich in erecting the Iniildings going up rap- 
idly,— George Engel, 1824-1905. 

The Trottnow family have been in business many years, on the 
streets of Franklin Grove. Mr. Ti-ottnow was a cabinet maker by 
trade and o])ened a furniture store. 

George Fischliach was an honest and industrious carpenter, 
who came to the grove in 1857. 

A well-known shoemaker of many years' service was Michael 
Eckhardt. 

:methodist episcopal cht'eoh at feaxkijx grom=: 

James jNicKeau Avas the tirst preacher sent on this charge. 
He preached in Morgan's and Minor's cabin. In 1840 Barton 
Cartwright succeeded him. Mr. McKean died 8ept. 8, 1855, at 
Macomb, Illinois. Mr. Cartwright died April 3, 1895, at Oregon, 
Illinois. 

1841. Rev. Lidvc Hitchcock of Dixon. 

1853-54. Robert K. Bibbins of Light House Point preached 
once in four weeks. He died March 22, 1898, at Sandwich, 111. 
He entered Rock River conference in 1847. Miss Annis Nettleton 
wrote that she remem])ered Mi-. Bibl)ins and his family very well. 

1854-1855. Henry L. Martin of Lighthouse Point organized a 
class, James Welsh being class leader. Miss Nettleton wrote that 
Mr. Grant was junior pastor with her cousin, Mr. Martin. The 
circuit included Ashton, Mount Pleasant and Rochelle. On his 
eighty-thii'd bii'thday he (Mi'. Martin) preached at the moi'uing 
service in C'ourt street church, Rockford, to a great congregation. 
His thought was distinct, his voice clear, and his sermon was a 
masterpiece. He and his wife were permitted to celelu-ate the six- 
tieth anniversary of their wedding. 

1855-1856. Michael Decker was sent to Lee Center and Frank- 
lin Grove. He entered the conference in 1842; died at Crete. 111., 
N(.v. 21, 1874. 

1855. LidvC Hitchcock, pi-esiding elder, held the first quarterly 
meeting. 

1857. Alvaro D. Field preached on this charge. He died Dec. 
1 9. 1 90S. at Indianola, Iowa. 



316 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

1858. H. Richardsou. 

1859. Bro. Peufield. 

1860. William T. Harlow, ijiiiicipal >>f Rock River Seminary, 
Mount Morris, Illinois. 

1861-1862. Calvin Brookius; died Sept. 25, 1881, at DeKalb, 
Illinois. 

1863. C. W. Wright built the tirst church. 

1861. Calvary M. Webster ; died Oct. 6, 1867, at Dixon, 111. 
1866. Henry J. Huston, June 8, 1907, at Elizabeth. Colorado. 

He organized a Sunday school this year, 1866-67. 



Postmaster during (irant's adnunistration : Henry A. Black 
was born Oct. 8. 1843, in Maine, and died Jmie 26, 1912. He 
located in Franklin Grove in 1855. 

George Dallas Black kept a grocery for many years. He mar- 
ried Clarissa Dow, a most estinia))le woman fi'om Maine. 

A. L. Merritt purchased the stock of drugs of Dr. (}. W. 
Hewitt and took into partnership, John ( '. Black. 

Charles Ambrose left China township for a moi'c congenial 
climate, but the dread foe, consmni)tion, pui'sued him, and he died 
in Texas. 

Rufus Covell opened a furniture store next to William's gro- 
cery. He died at Nevada. Iowa, August, 1865. 

This year on August 30, 3855, Andrew McPherran and ]\Iaria. 
his wife, sold a quarter of section 11. and left the grove. They 
are spoken of as honorable and hospitable settlers. 

Thomas W. Brown located in Franklin Grove in 1856 and 
conducted a tailoring estal)lishment until 1891. 

THK T'XIVKRSATJST SOCIKTY 

This society met at the house of Jonas ( Misbec In 1856, a sub- 
stantial chui'ch was built opposite the schoolhouse on Elm street. 
Rev. T. J. Bartholomew preached tirst: Rev. T J. Carney wrote 
the constitution. The other ministers were: J. O. Barrett, C. F. 
Dodge, Hudson Chase, Bro. ( ^ook and B. F. Rogers. 

John <*. Black gave uj) the drug Ivusiness with A. L. Merritt 
and was chosen postmaster. 

In 1856, William Henry Hehiiershauseii next ])nrcliased thor- 
oughbred cattle and improved his herd on the "Grove Stock 
Farm." This yeai', Lahman built a store on the corner east of the 
Hughes Hotel, lie closed the stoi'e in the fall and moved west. 
Robert Scott built a warehouse and a residence. Conrad Durkes 
o]>eiied a dry goods stoi'e, which he continued for many years with 



HISTORY OF LP:E COUNTY 317 

success. Mix I. Losey opened a dr}- goods store but soon sold out. ' 
Carl H. Lagerquist o^jened a shoe shop which he and his family 
continued successfully for many years. Josiah Hughes and Jonas 
Clisbee built hotels; both were well conducted and won words of 
approbation from strangers. 

On May 11, 1857. the tirst village board was elected. Presi- 
dent, Louis M. Blaisdell; clerk, S. J. Smith; trustees, A. W. 
Tolman, Josiah Hughes, Jonas Clisbee, Louis M. Blaisdell, ^?. J. 
Smith; street conunissioner, Jonas Clisbee; treasurer. Conrad 
Durkes (elected December 28, 1857). 

This year a Presbyterian ,Sunday school was organized. Prof. 
T. W. Scott was the superintendent. 

Other comers were: Edward and Julia (Gloss) Marvin; 
Franlv D. and Jane (Plessinger) Kelley; Oscar W. and Mary 
(Dick) Hughes; Calvin and Susan Koontz resided many years in 
Franlvlin Grove and vicinity. 

The O'Neil family came in 1857. Barton, Sarah Jane, and 
Jonas O 'Neil remained permanent citizens. 

John D. Sitts was in the hunber business wdth Sitts, Thomas 
& Company until 1872 when he opened a grocery store, which he 
continued for many years. The Cyrus Thomas family were resi- 
dents of the village for many years. 

On October 6, 1858, the Franklin Grove Lodge, No. 261, A. F. 
& A. M., was organized. The charter members were: Louis M. 
Blaisdell, Daniel B. McKinney, Col. Nathan Whitne3% A. Ran- 
dolph Whitney, William Forbes, Reuel Thorp, Conrad Durkes, 
John C. Black, George W. Hewitt, Alvah B. Fitch, Peter C. 
Roonev, Michael Decker, Isaac T. Forbes and Thomas Lewis 
Wood." 

The price of real estate was increasing. On September 16, 
1858. Samuel H. Beardsley sold his farm of one hundred and sixty 
acres in section 29 for $2^560. On July 19, 1858, Charles B. Bill 
and Catherine, his wife, sold lots 21 and 22 in Chaplain, for a con- 
sideration of $600. 

The Gilbert family are numerous in China to-^niship, and are 
good farmers (1859). 

In 1860, Henry I. Lincoln erected a large stone store on Elm 
street near the track. On June o, I860, a great tornado swept across 
the south end of China township, tearing up large trees and ruining 
ci'o])s. The roar of \A^nd could be heard twenty-miles north of the 
path of the storm. The lightning was incessant and the darkness 
appalling. 



318 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Ou Jauuai'v 1, 18G1, the Presbyterian church was organized in 
Franklin Grove by Rev. ^Y. W. llarsha, Rev. E. Erskine and 
Charles Crosby, a ruling elder. The church was affiliated with 
Rock River Presbytery. 

Rev. Thomas J. Carne}' was pastor of the First Universalist 
Society, during the Civil war. His parsonage stood on the laud 
now included in the north part of the schoolyard. He was an 
able man of tine presence and sterling character. 

In 1861, Louis M. Blaisdell of FTanklin Grove was elected 
one of three commissioners to expend the sum of $6,000 voted by 
Lee county, to "equip the volunteers of Lee county"" enlisting to 
go to the front. Mr. Blaisdell was an able man and his executive 
ability was much needed at this time. 

In 1861-1862 George W. Bray ton was postmaster in Franklin 
Grove. The family consisted of l^rank, Alice and Lucy. 

THE "g" OF 1862 

July 6, 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 men 
and Illinois was asked for 52,296. 

The Company "G" was raised in ( 'hina township. Every man 
who enlisted knew that it was a liaid and deadly combat. The 
romance of the war was over. Twenty-seven men in Company G 
left unprotected wives at home. Joseph Williams and Robert L. 
Irwin did good service in organizing the company. Lincoln's hall 
rang with cheers, and the schoolhousc fairly trembled with stamp- 
ing, as the patriotic gatherings asseml:)led night after night. The 
captain was Joseph Williams of Frankhn Gi'ove. The second 
lieutenant was Robert L. Irwin of China township. The sergeants 
were Manley E. Brown, (Jharles 11. Twonibly and William Vance. 
The corporals were C. Brinkerhoff, Joseph Winel>renner. Walter 
Gilbert, ( 'aleb Forl)es, JauK^s Dysart. ( )f the |)rivates from China 
were Jeremiah Christman, Clayton Chronister, AVallace East- 
wood, William B. Foi-bcs, John I'^cistci', William L. Girton. Noah 
Nay, Geo. W. Pense, Daniel Spaftord, Thomas Irwin, Andrew 
Timothy, John Wingert, William Watson. For nearly a month 
after being nnistered they drilled, and on Se]item1)er 27th they 
joined the troo]»s at -lefl'ersonxillc. Indiana. They bi'camc i)art of 
the Thii-tieth Brigade, Xinth Division. Third Army Corjis of the 
Army of the Ohio. On October Sth they met the enemy at Perry- 
A'ille and suffered a terrible loss. ( 'harles H. TAvombly fell and 
was reported "missing."" William Lodci' (iii'ton was shot on the 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 319 

battletiekl. Until the captaiu ui' the uatiuu fell, and Abraham Liu- 
coln had jomed the martyred dead, until peace was declared and 
"the grand review'' in Washington had disbanded, the brave boys 
in Cliina township sacriticed their all, and hailed again an undi- 
vided nation and an unsullied flag. 



The Tranlvliu (frove Cemetery Association dates from 1863. 
Isaac Twombl}^ was president ; Conrad Durkes, secretary ; Joseph 
Williams, George H. Taylor, William S. Thompson, trustees. It 
is one of the neatest and best kept cemeteries in the state. The 
location is beautiful ; the view from .the west with sinking vale 
and rising bluff being one of great beauty. Many line monuments 
mark the last resting-places of the dead. 

Mrs. Holly's was the first burial. Mrs. Cyrus R. Minor who 
died this year was interred near her home, and her remains not 
brought to the cemetery until later. 

The Carl H. Lagerquist family conducted a general boot and 
shoe shop for nearly a half century in Franklin Grove. Carl H. 
Lagerquist died 1887, aged seventy-three years. 

In 1861, as an insurance agent, William T. Pearl was well and 
favorably knov^ru. 

Mr. Hussey, a Universalist minister, his wife, and two daugh- 
ters, resided some years in the village; left Franklin Grove for 
Oregon ; and then Wisconsin. 

Dr. Christy had a large practice in the village before he moved 
away. His son, Bayard, was lost at sea. 

In 1864, the Aillage built up a number of sidewalks, fixed the 
crossings, graded the roads, and opened up the alleys. 

In an attack on Conrad Durkes, president of the village board 
by three men who wished a license to run a gambling den, Samuel 
Simmons was severely injured. No small praise is due to Mr. 
Durkes' memory for the nol)le and heroic stand he took in keep- 
ing a high moral standard in the counnunity. 

A large elevator was erected this year I)y the firm of Frost & 
Hangei', who did an extensive business. 

The (ieniiau Lutheran church was organized by Rev. William 
Uhl during 1861. In 1865, the society united with the Presl\v- 
terians in building the church which later they purchased, and in 
which they have since worshiped. 

Daniel Moore Bradstreet was a patriotic orator during the 
Civil war, and Clarissa Dudley Todd was his wife. He was a 
fine Biblical scholar, a close historical student, a hiunble Christian 
and an old school gentleman. 



320 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Mary, tiftli daughter aud ek-veutli child of Major Daniel Moore 
Bradstreet and Clarissa Dudley (Todd) Bradstreet, was liurn in 
Ulysses, Tompkins county, New Y'ork, July 27, 18il. In 181i she 
moved to Illinois ; attended Mt. Morris Seminary ; taught school 
in Ogle county; assistant principal in High school, Polo, Illinois; 
hired as principal High school, Franklin Grove, Illinois ; mari-ied 
June 27, 186G, Henry Charles Frederick Helmershausen, J J'. 

The Don Campbell family were engaged in the milliner.y busi- 
ness for years in Franklin Grove. The John Coyle family resided 
many years in the village. Mrs. Roche, a widow, her sou, ;ind 
two daughters, Mary and Hannah Alice, resided some years iu 
the village. 

At a town meeting held March 1, 1865. seventy-nine votes were 
polled. The first election under a special charter occurred March 
1, 1865. The new village lx)ai'd were: President, Conrad Durkes; 
clerk, Oscar W. Hughes; treasu]-er, William Clark Robinson; 
trustees, Josiah Hughes, J. J. Lichty, Joseph Williams, Jonas 
Clisbee, George W. Brayton, George H. Taylor. 

This year the German Lutheran and the Presbyterian Societies 
united in an effort to build a church to be occupied by both societies 
alternately. A substantial and commodious building was erected 
on Elm street, and services have been held in it until 1914. The 
church is a cherished landmark of the village. 

Gabriel Miller conducted a dry goods store for many years. 
The W. N. and Jidia Baldwin family were well known, ]\Ir. Bald- 
win being in business many years. The KSpaft'ord family were 
patriotic and loyal. The father aud thi-ee sons fought in the Civil 
war, Daniel Spafford, Sr., Josei)h B. Spafford and Thaddeus Spaf- 
ford. A family with interesting recolh'ctions of Abraham Lincoln 
were the Silas Yiugling and Hannah (Reigle) Yingliug family. 

In 1865, Chillon Buck ke])t the Hour and feed mill on Brad- 
foi'd street south of tlie schoollioiise, aud was well and favorabl_y 
known. He afterwards purchased a threshing engine and he and 
liis sous threshed for the farmers in the vicinity. Harry Brattcm 
has been well known in Frankliu (h'ove as a furniture dealer, aud 
midertaker. The Webb family came April 1, 1865. John We]>b 
was born April. 1827, and Mrs. John Webb, May, 1834. They 
were married November ^^. 185L in Tyrone township, Blair 
comity. Pennsylvania. 

In October, 1866, Baltus Lookinglaud, his wife and family, 
came to Nachusa township and from there to China township 
where he rented the farm claimed ])v John Dnrfee. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 321 

During 1866, the cburcli of the First Universalist Society was 
served by Re\. Mr. Hussey. His family eousisted of his wife, aud 
two daughters, and they are spoken of with respect and affection. 

Among the enterprising farmers in the vicinity at this time 
were, Freeman Ellsworth. Levi Hostetler, Euglehard Fenuan, 
Philip Klinetob, Joseph Jiruner, Henry Cosh aud others. 

The tSecrist family came to the village of Franklin Grove in 
1866 and were actively engaged in the social and business interests 
of the town. The Brewer family consisted of the parents aud one 
son, Lorenzo, who married Anna Cans and moved to Chicago. 

In 1867, William Henry Hehuershausen aud Samuel Hysart 
purchased thoroughbred cattle, red Durham shorthorns. 

The only newspaper up to this time was "The Franklin Grove 
Gazette " ' which Avas printed on a Dixon press. When it stopi>ed 
its issue, there was no paper at the grove. 

Josei3li Graff' was born Ai:)ril 28, 1845, in France, of French 
and German parentage. The Graff' family came to Tittiu, Ohio, 
and from there to Dixon. 

November 28, 1868, Luthci- F. Ramsdell ].ui'chasrd the F. L. 
F'ish farm of 160 acres at $5U per acre. 

William Crawford was well and favorably known as an under- 
taker for many years. 

On October 9, 1868, the Nathan Whitney Chapter, No. 129, 
Royal Ai'ch Masons, was organized. The charter members were : 
Coi. Nathan Whitney, A. Raiidolph Whitney, Alvali B. Fitch, 
George W. Hewitt, Reuel Thorp, William F'orlies, Jerry M. 
Forbes, M. Flint, Samuel Dysart. H. H. Glenn, W. H. Emersou. 
John I J. Strock, Peter C. Rooney. 

The Isaac T. aud Naim B. Forbes family came to China town- 
ship in 1868. 

"The Franklin Reporter," was started by Mr. JoJm F>l()chcr 
and published from 1868-1871; Dr. Da^dd H. Spickler from 
1871-1875; Prof. Thomas W. Scott, 1875-1876; Rev. D. B. 
Senger, 1876-1886; E. E. Manning, 1886-1889; Prof. Scott 
again, 1889-1891; Singleton W. Reigle, 1891 as administrator: 
Prof. T. W. Tuttle, 1891-1894; George W. Gaver, 1894; C. A. 
Bancroft, E. P. Harrison, Simon D. Remley, J. C. Cooke, Bela R. 
Halderman. This paper is the oldest weekly in the county. 

The Lott family came to Lee county in 1869. Mrs. Kate Duuu 
came to Lee county ^Nlarch 28, 1865. In 1869, Curtis Duuu aud 
Katheviue Strausuer were married. 



322 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

lu 187U, Cliiiia had included township 21, and the south one- 
half of section 17 and 18 of township 22, north, range 10 east of the 
fourth principal meridian. During this year the west one-half 
was set off and named Nachusa, the Indian's name for Jolm 
Dixon who had long white hair. China township then contained 
twenty-seven square miles, lying nine miles long and three miles 
wide. 

After 1855, the town meetings were held in Bishop Hughes' 
hotel. At the election this year, 262 votes were ]3olled out of 150 
legal votes. 

Samuel Dysart introduced the pedigreed Berkshire swine and 
succeeded well with them on his stock farm. 

On October 11, 1870, Lodge No. 409, Independent Order of 
Odd Fellows was organized. The charter members were : Single- 
ton W. Reigie, George Fischbach, George Engel, William H. Bass- 
ler and Nelson Strong. 

This year Warren Encampment, No. 122, was organized. 

Among the enterprising farmers who rented land in this 
vicinit.y were William H. Myers, Conrad Steen, Charles Kerst, 
George Hoffman and others. 

In 1871 Isaac Twom])ly and Henry A. Black iMiilt a double, 
two-story store north of the Robinson ])uildiug. 

On June 13, 1872, the Lady Franklin Chapter, No. 22, Order 
of the Eastern Star, was organized. 

This year Richard Archibald Canterliury built the Canterbury 
block, which added matei'ially to the ai)pearance of the town street. 

George W. Newcomer, born Feljruary 3, 1838, mari'ied Julia 
A. Walter of Polo, April 8, 1873, died August 2-1, 1906; was a well 
known 2»ioneer. 

In 1873, China township had ninety per cent less delinquent 
tax than any tov^Tiship in Lee. This same year, William Henry 
Helmershausen won premiums from the Rochelle fair on his en 
tire exhibit. 

The Lee County Old Settlers' Association was organized Au- 
gust 30, 1873, and for forty years the settlers of China townslii]> 
ha^-e attended its sessions and contributed to its success. 

Jacob R. Grou]> was a wagon-maker and carpenter, and a faith- 
ful workman. 

In March, 1874. the Daughters of Relickah, Astoria Lodge, No. 
67, was organized. 

The Abraham and Fi-ances Tfoupc family consisted of ]Mar- 
garet T\I. and Fi-edcriek. 



HlSl^ORY OF LEE COUNTY ;i23 

lu 1874, the Baud liall was built for the pleasure of the baud 
buys aud their frieuds. 

lu 1871, at au iuuueuse cost of over $13,000 a tiuely equipped 
wind gristmill was erected b}' Juhu L. Strock, Joseph, Johu aud 
David Lahmau. 

Rev. Johauues lleiurich fcjtauft'eubery preached fur thirty-live 
years iu E'raukliu Grove, iu Ohiua towuship. He served louger 
in his pulpit thau auy other imuister iu Chiua towuship. He 
fouuded the cougregatiou iu Ashtou aud Dixon, preached iu 
Roehelle aud Rock Falls. Besides this he did luuch teaching of 
German. 

Duriug 1875, John D., Joseph C Lahmau and Johu L. tStrock, 
organized the J. D. Lahmau & Company, manufacturing tirm. The 
output was the Great Western Seeder. 

In 1875, the assessment value of horses, cattle, sheep aud swine 
was set at $70,000, which gives an idea of how the progressive farm- 
ers of Chiua townshiiD imjjroved their stock. 

This year the wind gristurill was built. 

The year of the Centennial of the signing of the Declaratio]i 
of Independence, 187G, saw several citizens journeying to Phila- 
delphia. 

The Frauklin house was built aud had a good patronage under 
C. L. Anthony. It was called the best hotel l)etween Chicago aud 
Iowa. 

Alpheus Meredith aud Barbara Middlekauft" were married May 
1. 1870. In February, 1878, they moved to Franklin Grove and 
conducted a bakery and ice cream parlor with success. 

C. \Valter Trostle was engaged in the sale of farm implements, 
wagon-making and blacksmithing. 

In 1879, R. A. Canterl^ury began the hardware business in 
Franklin Grove. He was iu a firm with Isaac Twombly. 

P. O. Sproul started a newspaper called "The Enterprise" 
which Avas issued from June, 1879. It was a clean, newsy little 
sheet. 

Outside of Franklin Grove the census of 1880 showed 681 set- 
tlers. At the election this year, 298 votes were polled. The census 
of 1880 showed a popidation of 730. 

In November, 1880, "The Enterprise" ceased its publication. 

In February, Wai'ren Encampment, No. 122, was removed from 
our village to Amboy. 

Through the efforts of Rev. Anthony Hasbrouck Rchooumaker, 
the Dixon District Camp ]\Iccting Association was located on a 



324 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ten-acre strip west of the Methodist Episcopal church in Franklin 
Grove, July 12, 1881. 

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union was organized iu 
Augaist, 1882, and named the Erances E. Willard Union. 

In April, 1881, Augnst E. Kohl and Caroline E. A. Bettin, his 
wife, and their family, came from Schoenwerder, Germany to 
Franklin Grove. On March 22, 1913, they celebrated their golden 
wedding with forty-five descendants present. 

The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal church was organized in the home of Mrs. Enuna Caro- 
line Crawford iu May, 1885, by Mrs. Adeline (^Bowmauj KStulf, 
wife of the pastor, Rev. (!. L. S. Stuff. Four of the charter mem- 
bers belonged iu 1911, having a record of tweuty-uin(> years' 
service. 

In 1885, at the fourth commencement of the Franklin drove 
High school, the following program w^as given Jime 12, 1885: 

Music, Quartette. 

Recitation, "The Relief of Lucknow," Coi'a Eick. 

Essay, "Take Ye Away the Stone." Tillie A. Graff. 

Recitation, "The Ride (")f Paul N'enarez." Clytie C. Dow. 

Solo, "Ah, I have sighed to rest me" — Verdi — IMinnie Ada 
Hughes. 

Recitation, "The l)ishoj>'s Visit," William McGregor. 

Essay, "The Why and the Whither." Maud Minnie Adella 
Helmei'shausen. 

Recitation, "The Mountain Lanil)," Nettie Trottnow. 

Duet, "There's a Sweet Wild Rose," Mrs. Flora (Tnvlor) 
Timothy and Ella E. Bill. 

Recitation, "Little Steenie," N'innie VArk. 

Essay and A'nledictory, '"Silent Workers." (Jei-trude (iitford 
Sitts. 

(iuitar Solo, "Home, Sweet Home," Iveulien E. Lrackett. 

Awni'ding of diplomas, Jolin D. Sitts. 

Diii'ing 18S7, the Presbyterian congregation and tlicir friends, 
erected a clnn'cli at a cost of nearly five thousand doUai's. Since 
then a good pipe oi-^an has lieen installed wlii<'li adds to the beauty 
of tlie church. The building is symmetrical and iu good piopoi-- 
tioii. thus adding to the ajipea ranee of the village. 

Old Settlei-s' Day was held August, 1887, on the cam]"» gi'onnds 
at I^'ranklin Gi'<)ve. 

The Franklin (froxc \\:\]\k under the state law with a capital of 
Jf!25,()()0 was (u-anized in bS89. 



HISIORY OF LEE COUNTY :^^5 

lu 189U, the population of (Jhiua township according to the 
census was l,oGl. That of EranlvUu Grove was 73G. 

The Lee Count}' Telephone Company was incorporated April 
lb, 1897. 

In 1900, the population of China township according to the 
census was 1,315. That of Franklin Grove was 681. 

On July 17, 1900, many citizens of China township attended 
the splendid exercises on the occasion of the laying of the corner 
stone of the new courthouse at Dixon. 

On kSaturday, August 1(), 1902, Henry I. Lincoln was eighty 
years old. 

June 18. 1902, Mary, second wife of Charles Heury Twombly, 
mother of Carrie and Sophronia Rebecca, second wife of Jerry 
M. Forbes, died in Concordia, Kansas. 

The new Methodist church was erected at a cost of over eiglit 
thousand dc^iUars, and dedicated October 6, 1902, with imposing and 
appro^jriate services. 

In 1891, a hue brick school Iniilding was erected at a cost of 
$9,00(1. Later the trustees purchased several lots of Charles 
Helmershauseu, Jr., and now have the entire frontage of the block 
for a school playground. IMie appearance of the Iniilding and 
the grounds is a credit to the t<jwai. 

The first banquet of the Franklin Grove High School Alumni 
Association was held in the Asseml)ly room of the school building, 
June 7, 1913. 

Dr. Walter L. Moore, dentist in Franklin Gro\e. married 
Miuetta Pauline Roe. 

1813-1911 

THE GERM AX BAPTIST CHURCH 

Rev. Christian Lahman and his father-in-law. Rev. Joseph 
Euuuert, were ministers in Peunsjdvauia, and maintained family 
worship after they moved to China township. 

In 1811, the Jacob Riddlesbarger family came to the grove. As 
new settlers were added, a church building was erected in the 
Enmiert cemetery. This was enlarged as the congregation in- 
creased. A large church building was erected north of the village 
and services alternate were held in the two Imildinc-s. 



326 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

FRANKLIN GROVE OF TODAY 

It should be no trouble to write of this beautiful spot at any 
stage of its life. From earliest boyhood I have roamed arouud 
Franklin Grove. A few of the old settlers remain; that is. the 
third evop. (3ue, Mr. Charles Hansen, of the first, remains, alone. 
For views and valuable assistance I am indebted deeply to ^ir. 
Bela R. Halderman, of the Fianklin Grove Reporter, one of the 
oldest and one of the best and most reliable institutions in Lee 
county. He loaned me cuts; Imnted and obtained information and 
was my faithful friend and adviser. So, too, Mr. C. D. Hussey, 
the oldest business man in the village in point of liusiness career. 

The council is constituted as follows: Dr. F. M. Banker, presi- 
dent of the board and mayor; A. B. Wicker, village clerk: Wil- 
liam Bucher, callage police; Samuel Herbst, A. J. Stewart. Dr. 
W. L. Moore, Sim(»n 1). Rendey, Alljert Carpenter, trustees. 

The population is about 750. The main street is lighted liy 
boulevard lamps, a group of three to each lamp. An all night 
service of electric lighting and power is sujiplied by the Illinois 
Northern LTtilities Company ; Glen Wright, manager. 

Every inch of town lot frontage has a cement sidewalk. The 
early fathers of the place lieliex'ed in tree planting, and now Frank- 
lin Grove is a grove indeed ; a A'critalile forest of elms and maples, 
hard and soft. Tn that respect, this village is most beautifully 
oi'uamented. 

The schools here have a splendid reputation. Su}>erintendent 
Miller gives them great praise. Nine months schooling in tlie 
year is given. 'I'lie enrollment is ISO. 

High School 5r» 

Gramraai' 32 

Intermediate 49 

Primary 44 

Total ISO 



The salary account is $3,100 ]h'v annum, outside the janitor. 
Prof. H. G. Anderson is superintendent: ^liss Beryl Skinner is 
principal : Miss Ethel Holmgivn teaches tlie grannnar school : ^NLss 
Florence Wollensak. the intermediate; and ]\liss Frances Vanghan 
the primary. The directors are Fred H. Hansen, president ; ^M. V. 
Peterman, clerk; and F. B. Tvahmau. 

Some of the largest landholders of the county live around this 
plnce, and the land is very high ]")riced. Among the number are 




IXTKIMiiK (IF ( AMI'MKKTlXli TAUKKN A( LE 




EXTERIOR OF CAMPiJEETING TABERNACLE 



HISTORY OF LEE COINTY 327 

Cliiistiau Gross. His relative, Heury W. Hillisuu, the tirst born 
Norwegian cliild, uwus over one thousand acres of the best hind in 
Lee county. He lives on his farm on Temperance Hill in the south 
end of the township. The Dysart brothers are very large land- 
owners; Fred H. Hansen; Ira J. Trostle ; John Reinhart; Henry 
Reinhart; Marcus Wingert; Willis Riegie; Mrs. Jolm Miller; 
Luther F. Ramsdell; John Mong; John Buck; Earl Buck; Ira 
Buck; Oliver Buck; C. D. Hussey; Charles Weighbright; Milton 
Crawford; A. W. Crawford; Mrs. Carrie W. Crawford; JNIrs. 
August Petrie; Peter Brecimier; the David Miner estate and 
Thomas Gilbert are among the largest landholders in China town- 
ship, and most of them live in Franklin Crrove. The conmuuiity 
is very wealthy. 

Franklin Grove from time immemorial has been dr}- territory. 
It is a church loving and church going community. 

The Dunkards here are '\erv numerous, and theirs is the largest 
church in the village, costing $7,000. Rev. Cyrus Suters is the 
clergyman. The M^. E. church cost $10,000. Rev. A. E. ITllrich 
is pa.stor. The Presbyterian cost $8,000. Rev. R. L. McWherter 
is the pastor. Tliere is also a German Lutheran church here. All 
the church buildiiigs are frame; l)ut architectui'ally speaking, they 
all are beautiful. 

The camp-meeting and assembly gr(»unds here are features of 
great importance in chiu'ch life. The grounds contain fifteen 
acres. Thereon are forty or tifty cottages permanently l)uilt. 
Annually large munbers 1>ring their tents and families and make a 
sunmier outing here. To th(»se who do not care to take the trou])le, 
there is situated conveniently, a l)oarding hall with sleeping apart- 
ments above. The average attendance on Sundays at the camp- 
meetings is 750. On liig Simdays as many as 10,000 people have 
been i)resent. The camp-meeting occupies July ; the Chautauqua, 
August. The assembly hall seats 2,000 comfortably. A. M. 
Newcomer of Mount Morris, is the superintendent; Andrew F. 
Dierdorff ; E. C. Page ; I. R. Titus ; Robert Adams ; Fred D. Stone ; 
A. B. Peterbaugh; N. G. YanZandt, are directors; A. E. Ullrich, 
see,y. and treas. J. M. Phelps is president, and TV. B. Bolde is 
vice president. 

The grounds primarily were designed for camp-meeting i)ur- 
poses, and in earlier years, these meetings were attended by thou- 
sands of people. Noted preachers always have been present to 
preach, which in large measure carried the Chautauqua features. 



328 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Far and wide Frauklin Grove has been known for years, for its 
successful camp -meetings. 

Rev. A. M. Sclioonmaker was the founder of this successful 
institution. His faith was sublime. In 1883 he went ahead and 
built the buildings. He bought the ground and platted it into lots. 
It was an instant success. For twenty miles around the people 
flocked to the meetings. When the Chautauqua feature came 
west, these grounds so readily adapted themselves to its purposes, 
that after a seasonable period from the adjournment of the camp- 
meetings, Franklin Grove was placed in the circuit and its annual 
features are of the very highest quality. 

The Franklin Grove Bank enjoys a remarkable record. Since 
it was organized in 1889, the original officers ha^'e been I'eelected 
annually, excepting only the rare cases of death. I believe the 
only death has been that of Conrad Durkes. It is a very rich 
bank, with deposits above $300,000. 

Its officers are: John D. Lahman, pi'esident; W. C. Durkes, 
vice president; S. A. Durkes, cashier; Robert Johnson and Chris- 
tian Gross, besides the officers named, are directors. 

The business men are all sid^stantial men, and nearly every 
one has been engaged here a lifetime ; C. D. Hussey pei'haps the 
longest. His father was one of the A'ery earliest settlers of the 
township and Mr. Hussey lives on the old homestead to this very 
day, just on the edge of town. He is in the lumbei' and coal trade. 
M. V. Peterman is another lifelong merchant of the place. Dry 
goods exclusively are sold by him. L. A. Trottnow has one of the 
best grocer}'- stores in Lee comity. He is tremendously active in 
business life. He is interested in every movement that will 
improve the village. He is a powei-. The genial postmaster is 
James H. Lincoln. The Phenix Hotel is managed by Mrs. Lou 
Zooller. A. Kidlmer is proprietor of the Ijakery and restaurant. 
Frank D. Kelly has a large dry goods and hardware l>usiness; 
George Ives' drug store is one of the l:)est in the county. Ed L. 
Lott has the meat market; Frank Maronde, hardware; Phillips 
Bros., bai'bcrs; George Wcstfield, linrlier shop; H. N. Brattan, 
furniture and undertaking; Rol)ert Jacol)s, livery: A. ^feredith, 
ice cream and confectionery; H. W. Dysart is one of the big grain 
buyers of the county. He also sells seeds, flour and feed. The 
Fai-mers' elevator, run by E. A. Pegram. manager, is the other 
elevator, and also sells seeds and grain: coal too. lu the neighbor- 
hood of 600,000 liushels of gi'ain is marketed here ]ier annum. J. 
S. Tompkins has the paint, oil and wall jiaper store: G. AV. Ling. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ^29 

feed sheds ; William Trottuow, shoe repairing ; Andrew Uierdorff , 
real estate and luaus; O. E. O. Orner, farm implements; Will 
Miller, harness; Liunie Bratton, "Home Restaurant"; John 
Maronde, shoes; Henry A. Uierdorff, plumbing and heating estab- 
lishment; John Kelly, blacksmith; Henry Sunday, implements 
and blacksmithiug ; Charles Howard, cement blocks ; Frank Lager, 
jeweler; Charles Hunt, harness; H. C. Stultz, grocer; Fred 
Blocher has a remarkably tine clothing store; New^ Colonial 
Theatre, J. C. Cook, ijroprietor ; Glenn ^^'right, pool and billiards. 

Way back to the days of Dr. Hewitt, Franklin Grove alw^ays 
has been provided with the 1)est of surgeons. Dr. F. M. Barker; 
Dr. W. C. Smith, Dr. Adam Grim. Dentist: Dr. W. L. Moore. 
Veterinarians: J. H. Root and William Hepfir. 

The Sterling Tea & Produce Co., Bert Morgan, manager, does 
an enormous business in poultry and eggs and ice. 

Societies and club life always have been features of this vil- 
lage. Franklin Grove Lodge 2264, A. F. & A. M., is very pros- 
perous. So too Xathan Whitney C*hapter 129. Ofticers of tlie l;)lue 
lodge are : Charles Kelly, W. M. ; W. L. Moore, S. W. ; G. S. Ives, 
J. W.; G. D. Black, Treas. ; N. A. Whitney, Secretary; J. R. 
Dysart, Tyler. Of the Chapter : J. R. Dysart, H. P. ; N. K. North- 
rup, K. ; H. Reinhart, Scribe ; Dr. A. Grim, Treas. ; N. A. Whit- 
ney, Secy. ; G. Lookiugland, Sentinel. Of the O. E. S. : Mrs. Nel- 
lie Stewart, W. M. ; N. A. Whitney, W. P. ; Mrs. Katherine Cover, 
A. M. ; Mrs. Drucilla Banker, Conductress ; Mrs. jNlattie Ramsdell, 
Assoc. Conductress ; John W. Cover, Treas. ; Annis M. Roe, Secy. ; 
JNIrs. Carrie Rim, Ada; Miss Marjorie Grim, Ruth; Mrs. Zil})ah 
Peterman, Esther ; Mrs. Edna Trottnow^ Martha ; Mrs. Lilla 
Dysart, Electa ; Mrs. Grace Remley, Chaplain ; Mrs. Grace Stultz, 
Marshal ; Mrs. Vera Gross, Warden ; Fred C. Gross, Sentinel. 

Knights of Pythias, Grove Lodge 504: Foster Mattern, C. C. ; 
Reinhart W. Smith, Y. C. ; Simon D. Remley, Prelate ; Grover 
Lott, M. of A. ; Robert W. Crawford, M. of W. ; John W. Cover, 
M. of F. ; Henry W. Sunday, M. of E. ; Robert Ramsdall, I. G. ; 
Amos Wilson. 0. G. ; George E. Schultz, K. of R. & S. 

The clubs, the Clio, the Priscilla, and the Sorosis, are very 
active and influential. Of the Clio it may be said Chautau(|na 
work is its specialty. Mrs. Nellie Hansen is president ; Mrs. Jen- 
nie Sunday is vice president; Mrs. Maude Phillips, secretary: and 
Mrs. Grace Stiiltz is treasurer. The niembershi]i is limited to 
twentv-five and it is filled. 



330 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Of the Priscilla Embroidery Club, Mrs. Jennie Riegie is presi- 
dent; Mrs. Jennie ISuuday is vice president; and Mrs. Hannali 
Conlon, secy, and treas. The luembershiij is limited to thirty, 
and tilled. 

Of the Sorosis Club, Mrs. Hannah Conlon is president; Mrs. 
Elizabeth Crawford is vice president and librarian ; and Miss Lulu 
Miller, secy, and treas. Study for 1913-1914: "Taming of the 
Shrew"; "All's Well That Ends Well"; "Comedy of Errors." 
Required reading : William Shakespeare ; a critical study. Lim- 
ited membership : 20 active ; 20 associate. Sj^ecial days for Illi- 
nois and its laws ; current events ; American and other conntries. 

Besides these, there are the M. W. A., the strongest order in 
the village, about 200 members ; the Stars of Equity ; and the 
Mystic Workers. 

Grove City Cam]) No. 45: Consul, l-^oster Mattern; Worthy 
Adviser, Robt. Ramsdoll ; Banker, Henry A. Dierdorff ; Escort, 
Don C. Hussey ; Clerk, William F. :\Iiller'; Watchman, Amel Bet- 
tine; Sentr^y, Harold Kelly; three trustees, S. D. Remly, W. 0. 
Sunday, w". W. Phillips. Officers M. W. A. Camp. 

Mystic Workers of the World: Prefect, W. E. Trottnow; 
Monitor, Miss Mary Brown ; Secy., Mrs. Annis Roe ; Banker, S. A. 
Durkes ; Marshal, Mrs. Maud Phillips ; Warder, Miss L. M. Weit- 
zel: Sentinel, N. A. Whitney; Supervisors, Mrs. Harriet Ains- 
worth, Mrs. Hamiah Conlon, Mrs. W. B. Holley. Membership 71. 




GALENA AVENUE, LOOKING FROM A I'OIXT BETWIOEN THE COURTHOUSE AND 

THE NACHUSA HOUSE 
From nil nM ]>liolo.f;iaph 







f^ Tr^rjrurr-u-fe:. 




■V 4 ^ 

;4 4^ ^- 



h. 4* . 
t ^. 













DIXON IN 1S;)3 



CHAPTEK XXII 
DIXON 

lu such a frontier outijost as was Dixon, iu its \'ery early 
years, the life of the settler might be said to have been more or less 
precarious, especially after the Indian war of 1832 and the threat- 
ened Winneljago outbreak of the year following. Dangers, how 
ever from Indians were less to be feared than dangers from the 
thieves and coimterfeiters and claim- junipers, who sought the new 
country as an asylimi, and foi' the jjurpose of i)lying their craft. 

In each coimnunity associations were formed l)y settlers and 
these associations adopted constitutions and by-laws and amalga- 
mated themselves with the associations of other communities so 
that at a moment's notice, if the local body found itself unable to 
cope with the offenders, others reinforced still others. It was a 
sort of endless chain. 

Almost everything of local and general worth pertaining to 
Dixon, has been noticed, except i»erhaps the Bidl- Anderson claim 
jumi^ing incident. A poor settler in Si;blette township was hold- 
ing down a claim. A neighbor named Anderson, who owed him a. 
grudge, came to Dixon and representing to one Bidl, who ):)ought 
claims once in a while, that he was the owner of the claim, sold it 
to Bull and the latter at once stepped over to the United States 
land office and paying the money, entered it in his name. 

The moment the news reached Sublette precinct, the local 
association started to Amboy, where lai'ge reinforcements Joined, 
and together the mass of men Journeyed to Dixon to pay their 
respects to Bull, innocent of wrong as he was. Just south of 
Dixon the greater number of the committee tarried in tlie tim- 
ber while a committee went into the old Western Hotel to got 
Bull. To represent Bidl in the proposed trial. IVfessrs. Badger 
and Blair were chosen and, when Bull was called, he very natur- 

331 



332 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ally was iudiguaiit. He was picked up and passed over the heads 
of the peojjle and thrown imceremonionslv into a wagon. At 
this time the committee poured out from the woods. The wagon 
had started for the jail t<> lodge Bull there for safety. 

At that particular time the notorioxis Bridge, of Ogle county, 
was conlined, pending his trial. Constable N. G. H. Morrill when 
he saw the crowd, thought it had come over from Ogle 
to lynch Bridge, then in jail here, and he demanded that 
they release the })risoner to him. But Constable i\Ior- 
rill was tossed aside unceremoniously. Bull at last was 
enabled to get a hearing and when Badger and Blair 
learned that he was a resi:»eetable man who at times Ijonght 
claims in a legitimate manner, he was acquitted and later the 
neighbor settled the account ])y giving to Bull his note for the 
money paid for the claim. But not all the defendants got off so 
easily. Many were ordered out of the C(»unt3' and not one instance 
is recorded of the man who failed to go when ordered. The claim 
jaraii^ers claimed that so long as title to the land was in the 
United States, there was no property in bare claims and so their 
sale was illegal and after the claimant had aliandoned the claim, 
it was anybody's pri\'ilege to take it up. The claim jumpers 
society held otherwise and subsequently the Legislature acknowl- 
edged property rights in claims and sundry laws were passed to 
protect the claimant in those rights. 

In 1837 the claim association was formed at Dixon's Ferry 
and the following persons were made members by signing the 
agreement: Samuel C. JNIcClure. Hugh Moore, John Chamlierlin, 
Sanuicl Anthony, John H. Champlin, James JNIoore, A. Menten, 
S. N. Autlion,Y, Henry Moon, Cyrus Chamberlin, William G. Elder, 
Josiah Moore, J. 1). Pratt, Robert jNIurray, Edwin W. Hine, Isaac 
S. Boardman, J. B. Dills, Ahnisou Dickernian. John Richards, 
Caleb Tallmadge, Charles Franks, Smith (Jilhraith, Oliver Ever- 
ett, Joseph Crawford, Timothy ]j. ^Nliner. Sauuiel M. Bowman, 
James Kent, iNIoses ('I'oinbie, Major ( Miauiberliii, Daniel Koons, 
Nehemiali Hutton, James M. Santee, \Yilliam P. Burroughs, 
Thomas S. Banner, Charles Y. Hul)l)ar(l. John Carr. AYilliam 
Graham, Edward IJrandon, (I. W'ctzler. J. Caldwell. J. Young, J. 
P. Dixon, John Dixon, J. Mui']»hy. James Evans, (l)y dohn Dixon, 
his agent), James W. Stephenson, dolm A^^ Dixon, .Joseph Court- 
right, 1). B. Browne, Samuel Johnson, Jesse I)Owman. James 
Holly, Thomas McCabe, W. C Px.stwick. John Wilson, John 
Brandon, Jude W. Hamilton, Ward Rathbone, Daniel O'Brien, 
Stephen Fuller and Jesse P. Bailey. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ^:33 

The reader will notice that this list of names contained men 
from (ialeua to Peoria, and that Moses Crombie from Inlet, is 
included. 

But very few of those men actually lived in Dixon. Most of 
them were hold-claims and when this large class of men came to 
the ferry on business, it then was a very busy place. 

During the Black Hawk war, a man, and army sntler, named 
Tilson, established himself in the Dixon cal)in as sutler and 
trader and in the winter of 1833-4, John K. Robison taught the 
Dixon and Kellogg and one or two <ithcr childi'en in one of its 
rooms. 

Ogee built the tallest part of this calhn, of hewn logs and this 
was the part used liy John Dixon for merchandising purposes. 

When Mr. Dixon l:)onght the ferry from Ogee, this upright 
portion was all that was l)uilt. Inmiediately upon taking posses- 
sion, Mr. J)ixon built a double calthi of rough logs close to it. Sub- 
sequently wdien he iinished the block house portion and made it 
habitable, he j()ined it to his double cabin by a connecting portion 
of split shakes. 

The roof was built of shakes; the chinmeys were built of stone, 
partly on the outside of the house. A small lean-to was built on 
the north side, which latter was used for a kitchen. 

By looking at the picture of it presented in this book, a small 
building ^nll be notice<l on the north side of the river. This 
was the fort built by Zachary Taylor and his regulars while 
encami^ed during the Black Hawk war. It was built for the pur- 
pose of i)rotecting the ferry during the war and he named it Fort 
Dixon. This building was rather longer than wide. Aromid it 
port holes were left through which to tire in case of attack. 

Around all this, an embankment of earth was thrown al)out 
five feet high and covering a s(|uare of gr(tund aljout 500 feet. The 
fort stood about 350 feet north of the present north end of the 
bridge and about seventy-five feet to the westward. 

Up until about the year 1843 the old fort still stood. The old 
Galena stage road ran to the westward along this south embank- 
ment and between it and the river. Then it turned at the south- 
west corner of the embankment and traversed a northwesterly 
course through Ogle and Carroll counties and on into Jo Da\iess 
county. To this very day, the old diagiioal road is used for a con- 
siderable distance through Cari'oll county between Milledgeville 
and Lanark and I have traveled it manv times. 



334 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

This old log house, the tlrst to be erected iu Dixon, faced south, 
beiuy placed at a slight augle to the river aud directly across the 
old trail from Peoria, now Peoria avenue. It stood alxiut 200 feet 
from the river. The next house Ijuilt in Dixon st(Jod inunediately 
to the east of the corner now occupied by the CUty National Bank, 
on the spot on which the directors' rooms rest today. It was a log 
building, built by James P. Dixon, and was about sixteen feet 
square, with a small lean-to l)uilt against its east side. In this 
building the postoffice was ](»eated when iNlr. John Dixon was 
Ijostmaster. This house disappeared a))out the year 1855. Some 
have maintained that the old north side l)locl<; liouse stood until 
that year, but this is a mistake. In the yviw 1S;!(), our hrst regu- 
lar merchants. Chapman lV: Hamilton opened their store in the 
bloek house part of the oi'iginal mansion and Father Dixon who 
had done a limited amount of trading and had continued to run 
the ferry, removed to bis claiiii, a few rods soutliwest of what now 
is the Chicago aud Northwestern passenger station. 

In the autumn of 1836, the size of the place had increased by 
the appearance of the first frame house built by Jude W. Hanul- 
ton, the merchant just across the street from Mr. James P. 
Dixon's house. As a matter of fact, the little house had been 
erected in 1835. It was a little mite of a thing; not more than 
fifteen or eighteen feet across the front and perhaps twenty 
feet running backward to include the little kitchen built on 
its north side. Another house which in 1836 had l:)een 
built was the one built in 1835 by James Wilson for a 
blacksmith shop and which has been more particularly 
described iu that portion of this work apportioned to 
the courts held early iu the comity while we were a pai't of 
Ogle county. Another log building, afterwards covered with sid- 
ing, was located on the southwest corner of River and Crawford 
streets. It was built by a Doctor Forrest, who was the original 
claimant of the subsequent Woodford farm up tlie river on the 
north side. Subsequently Smith Gilbraith lived in it and one of 
the old settlers made the statement that when he reached Dixon, 
he handed over all the money he possessed, $300, to Smith Gil- 
braith to keep for him, IxM-ause the house was the only one that 
had a cellar, and cellars those days wei'c considered im])regiiable. 
Later this house became a saloon named "The Hole in the Wall." 

One Colonel Johnson ke])t boarders or private tavern in a log 
l)iii](ling built on the s(»utheast corner of Cah^ua avenue and River 
street where the Eli Baker buildiu"' stands todav. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 335 

Such were the physical pruportious uf Uixou iu the aiituiuu 
of 1836, not a very healthy six-year old! 

At the same time the census showed the following residents 
of Dixon: James P. Dixon, Peter MeKeuney, Sanuiel John- 
sou, Jude A>'. Hamilton, James B. Barr and Edwin W. Hine. 
These gentlemen had families here with them. The remainder 
of the census, umnarried were. Dr. Oliver Everett, Smith Gil- 
braitli, James Wilson, Dauiel B. Mclveuuey, who was a member 
of Peter McKeuney's family. On farms immediately contiguous 
there lived Stephen Fuller, "Oalel) Tallmadge, E. W. 'Cvell, John 
Dixon and George A. Marshall. 

There was not merchandising enough in those days to make 
it profitable. Tavern keeping was the most lucrative business of 
the early days and that accounts for the seemingly large number 
of taverns which were t(i hv found in the very newest settlements, 
and for that matter, all along thr great thonmghfares like the 
Chicago road. 

The first hotel l)uilt in Dixon was tlie Western, already men- 
tioned. It was ojiened in tlie winter of 1836-7 hy Peter McKen- 
ney and Horace Thompson and that same old hostelry stands 
today, on Hennepin avenue, next south of Beier's ])akery. Sul)- 
sequently it became known as the Mansion House, the Revere 
House and half a dozen other names. 

Over on what now is known as Adelheid Park, a townsite 
was platted called Burlingt<tu, and for a time it contained as 
many or more houses than Dixon. Stephen Fuller lived there 
when first he came to the country. In 1836 it still had three log 
houses, so that it will be seen that while the movement of ])eo])le 
to a common center was slow, townsite speculators were active 
and very wide awake for the future. 

Two -^-ery important things ha^jpened in Dixon in the year 
1834, for Dixon: the name of the postoffice was changed fi'oui 
Ogee's Ferry to Dixon's Ferrv and the Government sur^'eyed 
what then was called Dixon towuship. 

But to return to the year 1836; the six families for a little 
while were reduced to four by the removal of two of them, (^aleb 
Tallmadge lived on the Peoria I'oad, a mile south of town. E. AV. 
Covell and George A. Martin lived on claims on the north side 
of the river, Joseph Crawford lived on his claim in the lieud of 
the river from the day he landed in Dixon in the year 1835. And. 
too. the year 1836 was the year Stephen Frdler was lining in Bur- 



336 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

liugtou. While Thompson and McKeuney operated the AVest- 
ern, they also managed the old taA^ern in the Dixon mansion. 

Considerable mystery has been allowed to accummulate 
aronnd the location of the old Pheuix House, which in the early 
day was built here. In the year 1837 the old Rock RiA'er House 
was built on River street, about tifty feet west of the soutlnvest 
corner of Galena avenue and River street. It was run first l)y 
Crowell and Wilson, then by George Holly and Isaac Robinson; 
afterwards in 1846 it was destroyed by fire. 

About the year 1840 followed the famous old Dixon House, 
built on First street at the southeast corner of the alley between 
Galena and Hennepin avenues. This was built by Henry McKen- 
ney, father of Uriah McKenney of this city, and was run as the 
Dixon House until about the year 1855, possibly 1857, when it 
was moved around to the spot occupied at this time b}^ the E. J. 
Countrjrman store on the west side of Galena avenue. There it 
remained as a hotel, run under many names until it was torn 
dowm by the purchaser, I. B. Countryman, who Iniilt the present 
Countryman store there. 

In the year 1837 the first dry goods store was opened by 
Samuel M. Bowman & Co., on the southwest corner of River and 
Galena. This firm continued in l)usiness there until the winter 
of 1^39-40 when Josei)h T. Little and S. G. D. Howard opened 
the second dry goods store in the l)uilding. Bowman, by the bye, 
made the first temperance speech in Polo which ever was deliv- 
ered in this part of the country. 

On River street, a Frenchman named Calmeze. kept a grocery 
store in 1838-9, from which he sokl candles of unusual length, 
and which, according to tradition, contained whiskey. This 
buildiiig was located east of the corner of Galena avenue and 
subsequently was occu])ied Ijy Elias Bovey as his lumber office, 
and has been referred to as The Hole in the Wall. 

In 1837 the number of families in Dixon had increased to 
thirteen and Dixon considered lu'rself a verv likel.v place. In 
the yeai' 1843, when incorporation was desired, Dixon had forty- 
four voters, every one of whom cast his vote in favor of incor- 
poratif)!!. By the year 1845. the place had a popidation of 400. 

The year 1840 Avas a great year for Dixon. Through the 
instnnnentality of Mr. Dixon, the land office was removed from 
Galena to Dixon. The removal was the sensation of the state. 
In 1838 Father Dixon liad been appointed Commissioner of 
Internal Imi^rovements, a great honor, and from his ai^point- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY :j;i7 

nient lie was presumed to cany considerable weight iu llliuuis 
politics, but to secure the removal of the land office seemed 
incredible for a long time. 

At that time Colonel John Dement was receiver of the land 
office, and with the removal to Dixon of his office he was com- 
pelled to come along. This year was an important one in secur- 
ing Colonel Dement; just as imi)0i'tant a factor in tlie life of the 
town as the land office. Indeed, if the removal brought Dement 
here, it did a vast amount for Dixon. For lifty years the name 
of Colonel John Dement was most powerful. Active in politics 
always, he commanded a vast amount of influence, and that influ- 
ence always was exerted first for the interests of Dixon before 
he permitted himself to consider his own interests. 

At this point it may well be said that the name Dixonville, 
applied sometimes to this place, was so applied without any license 
whatsoever. The postoffice was named Dixon's Ferry, then 
Dixon. Many men of learning, notably United States Senator 
Young, addressed letters to Father Dixon at Dixonville, but the 
superscriptions always contained the real name of the postoffice. 
The name Dixon\nlle came to be used a little because certain map 
men, hearing the name, applied by rumor to the place, immedi- 
ately placed it on their maps. I have the various maps which 
contained this name. Naturally, frequent reference to the maps 
gave the observer the false idea that this place was named Dixon- 
ville, bTit after a little while the map men learned their mistake 
and corrected it in all future maps. 

Attracted by reports of the l^eauties of Rock River, a number 
of persons of cultivated tastes, of leisure, refinement and consid- 
erable property, closed out their holdings in the eastern states 
and migrated to Dixon. The munber included, too, others, who 
had been affected by the terrible panic of 1837. Among the num- 
ber were the Grahams, the Charters, the Lawrences, the Roundys, 
the Zimmermanns, the Reardons, the Strongs, John Shillaber and 
many others. These people were all people of rare education. 
Some had considerable means and they surroiuided themselves 
with almost feudal establishments. All were lavish entertainers. 
Some had been army officers, some had been sea captains. Proli- 
ably the best known was Governor Alexander Charters, a rare 
old Irish gentleman, originally from County Antrim, Ireland. 

Along in other pages of this book the important features of 
Dixon's history have been related. The details of unimportant 



a38 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

daily events should have no place iu history, yet to satisfy the 
gruh, some of them must be picked up aud mentioned. 

In 18-iO the population of Lee county was 2,035. Dixon pre- 
cinct had 725; 125 persons in the latter were farmers, 17 iu 
merchandising, 55 iu manufacturing, sawmills principally; 12 
Ijrofessioual men and one school with 30 pupils. 

November 6, 1815, Eriendship Lodge, A. E. (t A. M., No. 7, 
was chartered by the lventuek\' grand lodge. The first officers 
were Sanmel Johnson, AY. M.; E. CI. Nichols, S. W.; W. A. Mer- 
ritt, J. W. ; John Arnam, treas. ; S. A. Martin, secy. ; M. P. Kerr, 
S. D.; Alvin Humphrey, J. D. 

In 1845 the i:)opulation of Lee had increased to 3,282. Dixon 
had six lawyers, four churc-h societies, one church building, one 
select aud one district school Avitli roml^ined attendance of sixty 
pupils. There were 149 school children under twenty years old; 
three physicians, live dry goods and three grocery stores, four 
blacksmith shops, three wagon shops, three tailors, two shoe- 
makers, one painter, two cabinet makers, two saddle and harness 
shops, one bakery, two hotels, one the old Western, kei)t by Aaron 
L. Porter, and the Pheuix, on River street. There also was a 
young men's lyceum. The population of Dixon was 400. In 
1846 the first big fire swe})t away the store of Stiles and Eddy, 
on the southwest corner of Clalena and River streets, and the 
Phenix Hotel, just a little to the west, were l)urued. 

In the autumn of 1846 Dixon's first brick block was built iu 
Dixon ; two stores of two stories and attic were built on the north 
side of Eirst street, where today it stands adjoining the LTnion 
block on the Avest. James and Horace Benjamin built the west 
one and A. T. Murphy the east one. 

In the attic of the Murphy building the first Odd Eellows' 
lodge was organized and its meetings were held there for a long 
while. Until stairs were Ituilt later, a ladder was used to reach 
the I'ooms. 

The first corporation to be organized in IjCc county was "The 
Dixon Hotel Company" iu 1837. The names of the incorpora- 
tors will he found iu the fcJlowmg letter from Secretary of State 
Woods; its objects as well: 

July 19, 1913. 
Frank E. Stevens, Dixon, 111. 

Dear Sir: — In answer to your inquiry without date just 
received, vou are advised that "DIXON HOTEL COMPANY" 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 339 

was incorporated b}' special Act of the JA'gisIature iu 1837. Tlie 
law is to be found on page 242 of the "Private Laws of 1837." 

The names of tlie incorporators and powers granted are set 
forth iu the following sections: 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the pe()i)le of the State of Illinois, 
represented in the General Assembl.y, That John Atchison, 
James Evans, Charles S. Boyd, Wm. C. Bostick, Charles Cliap- 
man, John Dixon, Smith (Jilljraith, James P. Dixon, L. S. I Lift, 
Johu Brown, and Samuel Jdlmson. their associates and suc- 
cessors, be and they arc h('rel)y constituted a l)ody p()litic and 
corporate, under the name of the "Dixon Hotel Company," to 
be located in the town of Dixon, Ogle county; and l)y that name 
shall ha\c jiowcr to contract and hr contracted with, and may 
sue and he sued, plead and l>c iiuidcadcd, answci' and lie answered 
unto, iu all courts having competent jurisdiction, and shall be 
vested with all the pttwers and privileges necessary to the object 
of their incorporation, as are hereinafter defined and limited. 

Sec. 2. The said company shall have power and be capable 
of holding, purchasing, improving, selling, and conveying any 
estate, real or personal, for the use of said corporation; second, 
to improve or erect buildiiigs on the same; third, to rent, lease, or 
occupy any or all such lands belonging to said company for a 
term not exceeding the limits of this charter ; Provided, That the 
real estate, owned by said company, shall not exceed one quarter 
section of land, except such as may be held as collateral secin-ity 
for debts due said company, or may become the property thereof 
by virtue of such indebtedness. 

A certified copy of this Act will cost $2.50. 

Yours truly, 

Harry Woods, 

Secretary of State. 

Nearly all the names are familiar to Dixon peojile. T cannot 
see where this corporation had any lawful right to issue money, 
yet it will be seen that Nicholas Biddle of the famous ITnited 
States Bank received money in bits from it. An illustration of 
one of the pieces which came into the editor's possession is repro- 
duced in this book. 

The panic of 1837 killed it, probably. Tt would be very inter- 
esting to know just how this money came to be issued. 

The foTuidatiou was laid for the Dixon Hotel on ground, sul)- 
stantiallv, where the Nachusa House stands todav. 



■i^o HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

And while eugaged iu ijieking odds and ends, it may be well 
to introduce, at this point, a list of all of Dixon's postmasters. 
No correct list ever before has ]:)een presented: 

Ogee's Ferry— John M. Gay (Est.), May 25, 1829; name 
changed. No. 23, 1833. I)ixon''s Perry— John Dixon, Nov. 23, 
1833; Smith Gilbraitli, Oct. 17, 1837; James P. Dixon, May 18, 
1841; name changed, Aug. 29, 1843. Dixon — James MeKenney, 
Aug. 29, 1843; Abram Brown, Feb. 14, 1845; David H. Birdsall, 
April 1, 1846; Anderson T. Murphy, Sept. 19, 1849; Joseph H. 
Cleaver, Dec. 1, 1852; Eli B. Baker, Sept. 6, 1854; James L. 
Camp, April 2, 1861; Mary A. Camp, Dec. 20, 1883; James B. 
Charters, April 5, 1887; Benj. F. Shaw, Dec. 23, 1891; Michael 
Maloney, Jan. 23, 1896; Benj. F. Shaw, Jan. 29, 1900; AVm. L. 
Frye, Dec. 20, 1909. 

In August, 1849, manufacturing interests were reaching out 
and we find a i)etition made to the county connnissioners' conrt 
asking for a jury to settle on damages to lands upstream to result 
from the proj)osed building of a dam across Eock river. This 
was the first pi-oposal to harness the I'iver. In the fall of 1846 
and winter of '47 a tall bridge was built across Rock river on 
Ottawa street. The March 20th freshet of 1847 took out the 
north half. During the suimner Lorenzo Wood and Luther I. 
Towner contracted for $2,000 to rebuild the bridge two feet higher 
than before; and tlie,y did. The directors of this Rock River 
Bridge and Dam Company were John Dement, Oliver Everett, 
John Dixon, Michael Fellows, Otis A. Eddy, J. B. Brooks, James 
P. Dixon and Horace Preston. In the spring of 1849 the ice 
took out the south half of the bridge. Once more the bridge was 
rebuilt and in 1855 it was taken out again by the ice. Imme- 
diately another was proposed and it was built by Contractoi- 
Zachariah Luckey on Galena street. In 1857 the two north spans 
of the lu'idge went out and in 1867 more damage was done by ice. 
Mai-cli 7, 1868, the entire bridge was taken out by ice and the two 
south si)ans of the Illinois Central Railroad bridge were swept 
away by ice. A temporary frame bridge was built an(', Jan. 
21, 1859, the beautiful Truesdell iidu ))ridge was dedicated. On 
Sunday forenoon at just about tlie hour the churches had been 
closed after morning service, tliere occurred in Dixon a most 
fearful tragedy. While loaded with ])eo])le witnessing a iniblic 
baptism in th(> river, on its noi'th l)ank and to the wi'st of the 
lu-idge, this Truesdell bridge col]a])se(l and killed outright Miss 
Katie Sterling, Miss Melissa Wilhelm. INIiss Alnruaret O'Brien, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 341 

Miss Nettie Hill, Miss Ida Vaun, Miss Ida Drew, IVIiss Agues 
Nixou, jMiss Bessie Rayue, Miss Irene Baker, Miss Emily Dem- 
ing, Miss Lizzie MacKay, Miss Millie Hoffman ; JNIi-s. J. W. Latta, 
Mrs. H. T. Noble, Mrs"! Benjamin Gilman, Mrs. W. W. Tooke, 
Mrs. Carpenter, Mrs. James Ooble, Mrs. Elias Hope, Mrs. E. 
Wallace, Mrs. E. Petersberger and daughter, Allie, Mrs. Thomas 
Wade, Mrs. Henry Sillman, Mrs. William Merriman, Mrs. C. 
W. Kentner, two children of Mrs. Hendricks, Misses Clara and 
Rosa Stackpole, George W. Kent, Frank Hamilton, Edward 
Do3de, Thomas Haley, Robert Dyke, Jay R. Mason. Those who 
died very soon from wounds sustained were Mrs. Philip M. 
Alexander, Mrs. William Vann, Mrs. Charles March and Mrs. 
W. Wilcox. 

A wooden Howe truss l)ridge was built at a cost of $1H,0()0 and 
the i^reseut iron affair succeeded that. 

On July 27, 1848, Dixon Lodge, I. O. O. F., was organized 
in the attic of the Murphy building, and it is one of the many 
]jrosperous lodges in the city. I have thought many times that 
Dixon was "lodged" to death. The Elks, however, seem to bo 
so strongly intrenched in the affections of the members that no 
rivalry can reduce its membership, now nearly 500. A club 
house costing $35,000 has been built of brick on the old Doctor 
Everett lot, the northeast corner of Second street and Ottawa 
avenne. 

The Knights of Columbus is the youngest lodge; it has a very 
lai'ge membership, and so does the Woocbnen lodge. 

When the year 1850 is reached, we find the population of Lee 
couuty to have increased to 5,289. On Feb. 19, 1849, the 
Legislature had provided us with a township organization law 
and in 1850 Paw Paw or Wyoming, Brooklyn, Harmon, Lee Cen- 
ter, Bradford, Fremont (now China), Amboy, Hamilton. Dixon 
and Palmyra had been organized. 

On May 1, 1851, The" Dixon Telegraph and Lee County 
Herald, the first printed paper in Lee county, appeared. 
Charles R. Fisk was the publisher, Benjamin F. Shaw was tlic 
editor and James C. Mead, Henry K. Strong and John Mo(U-e 
were compositors. Off and on f(»r varying periods, Mr. Shaw 
was with the paper until his death, and the same Telegraph, nndci' 
the ownership and management of Mrs. E. E. Shaw and the edi- 
torship of George Shaw, a grandson, is issued today, daily and 
semi-weekly. A great many papers have come and gone sincc^ 
that far away date ; suffice it to say, we have today The Telegraph, 



342 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The Daily News, both I'epubliean ; The Weekly Citizen, demo- 
cratic ; aud but lately, The Daily Leader, a progressiA'e paper, has 
acquired a plant and very soon will issue a daily. 

In 1854 the cholera swept ovei' the county and took from this 
conmiunity thirty-four between June 20 and Au.n'ust 7. 

During tliis period lots in Dixon were selling at fabulous 
figures. A hrst-class boom was doing its work. A telegra})!! 
office had been establislied and I'eal railroads were promised. Tn 
1859 a city charter was adopted. 

On Jan. 10, 1S3G, the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad 
Company was incorporated. To secure money the first meeting 
was held in Rockford Xov. 28, 1845. Then it was the design 
to run from Chicago to (ialena. In September, 1847, the engi- 
neers were put to work, and the eastern part of the new road was 
run along the Chicago and Dixon road to the Des Plaines. Strap 
rails were used between Elgin and Chicago. December 15, 1848, 
the road was finished to the Des Plaines, ten miles. 

The Pioneer had been purchased March 5, 1849. On Sept. 
1, 1853, forty-five miles of the Dixon & Iowa Central had 
been built. On Dee. 4, 1854, the Dixon Air Line had been 
built into Dixon, sixty-eight miles from Tui'uer .Tiniction. At 
api^roximately the same time the Illinois Central was h\\\\t into 
Dixon. In 1880 this road forwarded 3,668 cai's and received 
1,208. Its ticket sales were $33,170.10. For the year just past 
over $100,000 were collected here foi' passenger tickets and oxor 
$400,000 for freight charges; the best record on the road. The 
freight collections show in the year an increase of $100,000 for 
the year. 

MANUFACTURING 

It would be insufferably tedious to go back and insert tlie 
many little items which showed onr efforts to build up manufac- 
turing plants. Col. John Dement, one of the most enterprising 
men Dixon ever had, began in the early '50s tlie manufacture of 
])lows. He also joined Moses Jerome in the manufacture of 
flax bagging and until Congress removed the tariff on jute hun- 
dreds of boys and girls were given ('mplo;\anent l)y the flax mills. 
Maj. O. J. Downing was the pioneer in flax bagging, entering a 
partnershi]> with Jerome as Jerome &: Downing: then the firm 
became Jerome & Dement and then John Dement. FTenry D. 
Dement aud Jacob S]uelman opened another ou the uortli si<le 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY -m 

of tlie race. ^Voud Brothers operated for a long- time a \V(Mileu 
mi]] and then a flouring mill. The mills <»f Beelcer & Under- 
wood turned out flour that sold from coast to coast, ])ut an 
explosion put them out of Jjusiness two or three times, the last 
time forever. William Uhl was an old-time miller, too. 

Now we have no flouring mills, Init over on the north side, in 
Swissville, we have the greatest milk factory in the world, owned 
by the Bordeus. This splendid plant was Iniilt by George H. 
Page in 1888 for the Auglo-Swiss condensed milk factory. He 
Iniilt the best plant in the world then, fully expecting to return 
to his boyhood home to spend the rest of his life; liut pneumonia 
took him oft' and later when the two l3ig companies made their 
trades of certain interests, this plant went to the Bordeus. Con- 
densed milk and candy are made here for the general trade. 
Ralph W. Clnirch is superintendent. Two hundred and flfty 
people are employed here. The milk of 5,500 cows is consumed 
every day and the amount of mone.v paid out approximately in 
Dixon every year is $400,000. Thirty thousand tin boxes are 
used to box this product. From three to four million pounds 
of caramels are shipped annually. The Central Machine Shops 
here make all the machinery for all other plants and the Central 
(^an Shops make all the cans for the other shops. 

The cement plant occupies the ])iggest place in oui' aff'aii's. 
W. E. Wuerth is the superintendent and there is not a single 
ingi'edient or a single cog-wheel needed in the manufactui'e of his 
product l)ut he knows all alxnit it the instant his attention is called 
to the same. It is reported that he is the best cement man in the 
world, and in all his vast plant, if called upon to g(^ in the dark 
to repair a lu'eak, he can do it. The name of this concern is the 
Sandusky Portland Cement Co. (of Sandusky, Ohio). I Ijelieve 
the ^ledusa bi'and is the specialty of this plant. About 300 men 
are ke^jt working here all the time. The i)lant runs twenty-four 
hoiirs per day and 365 days in the year. During the past year 
1.730 cars of coal were Inirned, which will approximate 86,000 
tons. Four thousand nine hundred and forty cars of products 
were shipped last year to Iowa, Dakota, Wisconsin and 
Minnesota. But most of it goes to Illinois. To give an 
idea of the enormous business which this great concei'u 
does, let me state that it paid our two railroads last year 
the enormous sum of $89,000 for freight on coal alone. The total 
coal bill was $165,000. The annual pay roll is $310,000. In 1906 
the company started to build. In the fall of 1907 it started it'^ 



344 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

furnaces. Fur the large tract of land owned by the company 
$300 per acre was paid. It lies along the east bank of Rock 
river and only a few days ago F'uller's Cave, known far and wide, 
was blasted. To load the stone upon trains, live steam shovels, 
monsters, are used and five locomotives are used to pull those 
trains ; — all outside work. 

The buildings occupy at least 1,000 feet square of ground. 
They are the most modern in the world. During the year past 
the company increased its capacity 25 per cent and its 
output more. Another vast expenditure is for plaster. Over 
5,000 tons per year are used at a cost of $13,000. It is a beauti- 
ful sight at night, when the dozen or more stacks are spouting 
fire. Asked if the company had enough rock in sight to feed such 
vast appetites, Mr. Wuerth gave the assurance, "for five hun- 
dred years." 

But recently the Brown Shoe Company has taken over the old 
Hendei'son plant and they are increasing their force all the time. 

The old Grand Detour Plow Company, organized in 1837, is 
one of the reliable institutions of Dixon. Col. W. B. Brinton,. 
the ijresident, runs sununer and winter and during many of the 
years of drought that plow company was the only thing in Dixon 
besides the milk and cement plants that gave any emplo}anent 
to labor. 

Four years ago Dixon began to mend. Something like a dozen 
beautiful brick buildings were erected. The present year the 
Dixon National Bank is finishing its beautiful five-story pressed 
brick building. In March they expect to occupy it. 

The greatest prize that ever came to Dixon, however, was the 
location recently of th(> State Colony for Epileptics, which the 
Board of Administration located on the north side of Rock river, 
beginning with the F. E. Stevens ti'act ujistream and coming down 
to include the A. C. Warnei- tract. The first expenditure is to be 
$1,500,000. For this piece of rare good fortiuie we may thank 
our present mayor, Col. W. B. Brinton. On Thursday night, 
February 19, 1914, a banquet was tendered hiui in the Elks club 
by over five hundred citizens and friends. The beautiful homes 
of Dixon have been sung in story ever since 1837, when William 
Cullen Bryant came over to visit Gov. Charters. S]iace cannot 
be spared to enumerate them. But the beauty spot of all b(>au- 
tiful Roek river was the river fi'ont tract just obtained by the 
State and how fortunate it is that the poor sufferers may enjoy 
the l)righest charms nature ever 2,'ave t<~i man. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY * 345 

THE CHURCHES 

The Baptist elaurcli was legally organized Jan. 13, 1841, and 
here may as well follow the short church sketches. 

The nature of this work compels me to send to each locality 
a statement of each of the churches in Lee county. 

The history of the progress of the Lee county religious bodies 
is interesting. The earliest settlers of the county held strong 
religious convictions and it needed l)ut the presence of the church 
and the pulpit to attract tliem to church services, many times at 
tremendous sacrifices. Ministers of the Gospel in the early day 
received ahnost nothing for their services, yet it was expected of 
them to support themselves and the family. 

When Peter Cartwright received fifty dollars for his second 
year's stated salary, he remarked that he considered he had made 
quite a rise in the world. If percentages were used to form an 
infallible judginent on the question of salary raises, then Mr. 
Cartwright got au enormous raise, one hundred i:)er cent. But 
when considered from fact instead of figure, he only received a 
raise of $25, as $25 was his first year's emolmnent for the first 
year of Illinois service. 

The early preachers came and went; they were on the move 
all the time. lu fair and in fold weather, it w^as all the same; 
they traveled the circuit, sometimes on foot, sometimes ou horse- 
back. Sometimes they had food and shelter and more times they 
had not, yet in the face of hardships almost unendurable those 
pioneer men of God pushed forward with an enthusiasm almost 
inconceivable at this distance. 

Sometimes exposure prostrated them wath long sicknesses and 
instances like the one noticed in Lee Center are remembered 
where death cruelly snatched them away, in a strange land, far 
from friends and family; so very far that it was found impossible 
to secure the presence of relatives at the funeral. Hardship l)ut 
increased the fervor of those men. At first it was the cust<im 
for two or more communities to group themselves together, as for 
instance the first religious services for Dixon were held at Buf- 
falo Grove by residents of Dixon's Ferry and Buffalo Grove. 
By resolution adopted at the first meeting, held in Buffalo Grove 
May 28, 1838, the name of this first church was named "The Reg- 
ular Baptist Church of Dixon and Buffalo Grove." 



346 • HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

At that meeting, Elder Thomas Powell Avas chosen moderator 
and Howland H. Bicknell was chosen clerk pro tern. Those who 
formed themselves into that chnrch society were Rebecca Dixiin, 
Sarah Kellogg, Elizabeth Bellows, Martha Parks, Jerusha Ham- 
mond, Ann Carley and H. H. Bicknell. Sixteen articles of faith 
were submitted and adopted and Mv. Bicknell was ajopointed 
clerk of the church. Rev. Thomas Powell preached for the 
chui'ch, holding meetings in Dixon and Buffalo Grove imtil ]May, 

1840, and during that time he liaittized about fifty members. On 
June 28, 1840, Barton B. Carpenter was appointed clerk, caused 
by removal of Bicknell, and on the same day he was presented to 
the elnirch by a council consisting of Eldei'S Powell of Vermillion- 
ville, Headly of Greenfield and B. Carpenter of Lyndon, and 
Brethren Andrew Moft'att of Greenfield, Zenas Aplington of Buf- 
falo Grove, John W. Dixon and Elizabeth Dixon, both of Dixon, 
for ordination. He was examined, approved and ordained, and 
I'equested to serve the church as pastor, commencing his lal^m-s 
from the first of May. He served this congregation until its sep- 
aration into two distinct bodies, Dixon and Bi^ffalo Grove, by 
nnitual consent on April 16, 1842. On the separation, Mr. Car- 
l)enter continued to serve the Dixon church as pastor. By 1841, 
Dixon having gained on Buffalo Grove very rapidly, on Jan. 13, 

1841, the Dixon church had become known as the "First Baptist 
Church of Dixon." The last surviving member of the original 
chm'ch was Mrs. Martha Parks of Palmyra to"nmship, who died 
Sept. 2, 1898. 

The Bajjtist church in Dixon is a prosperous congregation in 
Dixon today, but in Buffalo Gi'ove it disintegrated about 1848 
or 1850. 

Early pastors occupying the pul])it have been, first of course, 
Mr. Carpenter, June, 1840, to October, 1844; Barton Carpenter, 
from Deceml^er, 1844, to March, 1845 ; William Gates occupied 
the jmlpit occasionally and William Walker about four months 
between March, 1844, and A]iril, 1847, when E. T. Planning became 
pastor for a year; S. S. Martin liecame pastor in 1849 for a year; 
G. W. Benton supplied the pulpit for about six months lietween 
Martin's pastorate and Au,gust, 1851, when John E. Ball became 
pastor for about foui' years; Anson Tucker took charge in INIay. 

1855, and served eleven months; W. R. Webb followed in June, 

1856, and served over four years; William G. Pratt followed in 
March. 1861, for a year; W. S. Goodnow followed in September, 
1862, for two years; J. H. Pratt Ix'came pastor in October, 1S64, 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY -i* 

and served over uiue .years. D. F. Cariialian followed in August, 
1874, aud O. P. Bestor in August, 1877. 

The lirst record of a Baptist ehureli I)uildiug is .May 5, 1849: 
"The Baptist Meeting House was this day dedicated to Almighty 
God; sermon bv Rev. Jacob Kuall, of Rock ford." 

This building stood on the west side of Ottawa avenue, facing 
east, between F^irst street aud the alley luniung through the 
block. It was used by the Baptists until 187U, when the new and 
present structure on Second street was built aud dedicated. 

In the summer of 1845 a correspondent, wiiting for a Rock- 
ford paper, made the statement that at that time there were four 
congregations in Dixon, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and (_'on- 
gregatioual, and one church structure, that of the ^lethodists. In 
the summer of 1843 this first Methodist chur('h l)uilding was dedi- 
cated by Rev. John T. Mitchell, presiding elder. Its cost was 
$4,000 and the lioard of trustees were O. F. Ayres, J. P. Dixon, 
C. Edson, L. 0. Wynkoo]). Thomas MeCabe, J. Brierton and 
Samuel J\I. Bowman. 

The building is standing to this day upon its original site on 
Second street between Galena and Ottawa avenues, and is occu- 
pied as the residence of Dr. ]\larian White. 

For many years after the Methodists had mo\ed to their second 
church building on Peoria avenue, the old first church building 
was used as the high and grammai' schools, the high school above 
and the grammar school in the basement. 

Soon after the dedication of this ]Methodist church in 1843, a 
Union Sunday school was organized in the church, July 15, 1843, 
which had a memliership of eight teachers and sixty scholars. A 
library of ninety volumes was collected. Of this Sunday school 
O. F. Ayres was superintendent, Thaddeus D. Boardman was 
secretary and J. W. Clute w^as librarian. 

During the year 1854 the second church l)uilding was begun 
and work was cari'ied foi'ward on the same until it was finished. 

The first parsonage, 24x30, brick, was 1)uilt on Thii'd street 
not far from the then Illinois Central depot. 

The original cost of the second church was $15,000. AVheu 
finished in 1857 it was dedicated by Bishop Bowman. In 1870. 
'71 and '76 unprovemeuts were made costing $2,700. 

Among the old-time elerg\^nen have been in the order named, 
Robert Dunlap, Barton Cartwright, Isaac Pool, Riley Hill, Euke 
Hitchcock, Richard Blanchard and Philo Judson. In 1842. Aug. 
3d, Melugin's Grove and Inlet were added to the Dixon circuit, 



348 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

which already embraced Washington Grove, Light House Point, 
Jeii'erson drove, Daysville and Paine 's Point. Pliilo Judson 
and W. H. Cooley were appointed circuit riders. Then came W. 
Wilcox, David Brooks, S. P. Keys, Milton Haney, R. W. H. 
Brent, R. P. Lawton, William Palmer, Thomas North, James 
Baume, J. W. Agard, Wilbur McKaig, N. P. Heath, L. A. San- 
ford, S. G. Lathrop, O. B. Thayer, W. H. Smith, G. L. S. Stubb, 
T. C Clenniug, George E. Strowl)ridge, J. H. Brown, John Wil- 
liamson, Isaac Liuebarger, G. R. Van Home and A. W. Patton. 
Rev. F. D. Stone is the present pastor. 

A Unitarian church or society was organized in 1850. In 
1855 through the efforts of Jndge John V. Eiistace, Dr. Oliver 
Everett, George L. Heriick and the pastor. Rev. Kelse)^ built a 
handsome frame building in 1855. The congregation did not 
grow and very soon tlie building was torn down. 

On Sept. 29, 1854, the ( Vmgregationalists organized a church 
society in Exchange Hall. There were the following members: 
Mr. and Mrs. S. K. Uphani, G. W. Bartlett, B. J. Bartlett, Noah 
Brooks, (Jeorge D. Cox, ]\fr. and INIrs. Benjamin Gilman and Mr. 
and Mrs. ^V. AV. ^'urtis. Rev. S. D. Peet was the tirst minister 
and remained uriil April, 1855. Others who served were D. 
Temple and H. Hesley. B. D. Gay, S. K. ITpham and Benjamin 
Gilman were deacons. The congregation worshiped in Exchange 
Hall until 185G, when they removed to a brick church abandoned 
by the Methodists when the latter occupied thei]- new church 
building. The Congregational Society did not sui'vive long, dis- 
banding in 1858, when most of its members joined the Presbyte- 
rian church. 

In the year 1854 the Catholic church was organized in Dixon 
by Father Mai'k Antony, with about t\\'enty-five members. Foi' 
the first few months church services were held in the courthouse, 
but later in the same year in the first church, a frame building, 
still standing on Fifth street. The pastors in this church, begin- 
ning with Father Antony, have been Fathers Fitzgerald, Tierncy, 
Ford, Dr. Lightner, Kennedy, IMcDermott, Thomas P. Hodnott. 
Rev. Michael Foley is the present priest and Father Donohue is 
the assistant. 

The ])reseut beautiful chuich building was built in the year 
1872-3 and was dedicated in the latter year. 

Later the building was damaged ba<lly liv fii'e, but in the same 
vo;\v it was rebuilt. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY -ii" 

From the cougregatiun of twenty-tive of the year ISoi, St. 
Patrick's cliureh, Dixou, under the spiritual guidance of T'ather 
Michael Foley, has grown to be by far the largest congregation in 
Lee county. 

This new building, built on vSeveuth street on a lot donated by 
John Reill}', cost over thirt}' thousand dollars. The bell, weigh- 
ing 2,500 23ounds, cost .^900. 

St. Paul's Lutheran church of Dixon was organized August 20, 
ISiS. Rev. J. H. Burket was the first pastor and the lirst meet- 
ing was held in his barn in Dixon township. The following is 
the roll of pastors and their term of ser\T.ce to date: 

*Revs. J. H. Burket, 1848 to 1850 ; *Ephraim Miller, D. D., 1850 
to 1852; *Charles Young, 1852 to 1853; * William Uhl, 1853 to 1855 
and 1856 to 3858; *David Harljaugli, 1855 to 1856; *J. L. Guard, 
1858 to 18G1 ; •■J. R. Keiser, 18(i2 to 1865; *A. A. Trimper, 1865 to 
1870; N. W. Lilly, 1870 to 1874; S. S. Waltz, D. D., 1871 to 1879; 
L. L. Lipe, 1879 to 1885; *J. M. Ruthraufe, D. I)., 1885 to 1895; 
T. F. Dornblaser, D. D., 1895 to 1903; W. L. Rutherford, 1904 to 
1910; Frank D. Altman, D. D., 1910.— 

The first church was built in 1855 during the pastorate of Rev. 
Wm. Uhl. 

The second church was erected ou present location in 1868 
under Pastor Rev. A. A. Trimix'r, and dedicated in Jamiary, 1869. 
The cost of the building was about fifteen thousand dollars. 

The present parsonage was erected in 1876, during the minis- 
try of Rev. S. S. Waltz, D. D. Improvements were made to the 
church building in 1898 undei- the direction of Rev. T. F. Dorn- 
blaser, D. D., pastor. The semi-centennial jul^ilee was held 
December 16-19, 1898. The Sixteenth Biennial Convention of 
tlie Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the Gen- 
eral Synod in the United States was held in the church Mav 25- 
28, 1909. 

The present confirmed membership is 635. • The enrollment 
of the Sunday school the past 3^ear (1913) including Home De- 
partment and Cradle Roll was 580. Total contributions of the 
church for all objects during the year over four thousand seven 
hundred dollars. The business affairs of the congregation are 
administered by a church council of ten men elected hy the mem- 
bership. 

Dixon is indebted enormously to the Lutherans for buying 
the old farm along Rock river always conceded to be the most 

*Deceased. 



350 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

beautiful of all our scenic si^ots.Tliis they converted into a Chau- 
tauqua or assembly grounds which Dr. Altman has told about 
herewith. I have included it with our church life. 

ROCK RIVER ASSEMBLY. 

By Rev. V. D. Altman. 

This institution had its beginning' in the summer of 1887 at 
an annual picnic of Lutherans at Hazel wood, about three miles 
northeast of Dixon. Rev. J. M. Ruthrauff, at that time pastor 
of St. Paul's Lutheran C'hurch of Dixon, may properly be termed 
the father of the movement wdiich has developed into the present 
annual Rock River Assenil)ly. 

^yith the cooperation of others on this territory a stock com- 
pany was formed. Capital stock of $10,000 was subscribed in 
shares of $25.00 each, and in 1890 a charter was secured from the 
state. Later the capital stock was increased to $20,000. Three- 
fourths of the shares must Ix^ held ])y members of, or persons 
afdliating with the Lutheran (Uiurch. The management of the 
association is vested in a board of nine directors elected by the 
stockholders at the annual meeting. The object of the Assembly 
corporation is to maintain and conduct annually on the premises 
of the assembly a (^'hautauqua, consisting more particularly of 
lectures, concerts, Bible conferences, round tables, religious 
services, and such other entertainments and exercises for the 
mental, moral and spiritual iml)ro^•ement of the conmumity, also 
to afford prt)per recreation and other advantages for its people. 
It is not for financial profit. Its officers and board of directors 
serve without compensation, and any excess of receipts al>ove ex- 
l^enses is used in making imi)rovenients u])on the grounds and 
keei)ing u]) tlie standard of the talent employed. 

A beautiful tract of land containing about forty acres was 
secured. The location is along the north l)ank of Rock river adjoin- 
ing the city of Dixon on the east. Here the river banks are high 
and extend in a great retiring curve for half a mile. For camp- 
ing pur])oses the grounds are ideal. Nature has done its best in 
furnishing an attractive and restful |)lace. The singing of liirds 
lends enchantment to the scene, while families of squirrels frolic 
fearlessly about the walks and drives and upon the branches 
oA^erhead. 

But the superiority of Rock River Assembly is in its pi'o- 
grams. For over a quarter of a century it has Avon a miique place 



d 



■3 




HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ' 351 

ill the iiuiiiber of interesting and essential features presented. 
Some of tlie most famoiis lecturers and singers and characters of 
America and other lauds across the sea have appeared on the 
assembly platform. The aim of the management has been to 
bring within the vision and hearing of the people of this part of 
the state, the best talent along dift'ereut lines that could be pro- 
cured within reasoiuihle limitations. 

The effort has been appreciated, and the assembly has devel- 
oped beyond all expectations until it has become a permanent in- 
stitution of the city of Dixou. Thousands come every year t<> 
enjoy the splendid programs rendered and have an outing iu 
nature's quiet and refreshing abode. Improvements have been 
made gradually and extensively. On these grounds are a large 
circular auditorium capable of seating 5,000 persons, numerous 
school and administration l^uildings and comf(:)rta))le c()ttages; 
the Assembly Hotel, on the river front, with magnificent view, 
good accommodations at moderate expense. Electric lights are 
installed tliroughout the premises. Electric cars bring the visi- 
tors to the gates. An abundant water supply, furnished in sani- 
tary perfection from artesian wells, is distributed ui)on the 
grounds for public use. The outdoor sports, boating, tennis, cro- 
quet, base l)all, fishing, swimming, can he enjoyed to the extent 
of one's capacity. For sixteen days each year, beginning the last 
Saturday in July, the assembly affords a rich feast of good things 
for the people, the best which education, art and science have 
to offer. Rock River Assembly probably ranks thii'd among the 
Chautauquas of America. The following are the members of the 
board of directors at this time, 1914 : A. E. Thununel, president ; 
Theo. Troutli, vice-president; H. M. Rasch, secretary; W. E. 
Trein, treasurer; A. A. Krape, C. E. Derr, A. L. Geisenheimer, 
Geo. W. Bruner. F. D. Altman. 

Saint Luke's Church, Dixox. 
By Rev. A. B. Whitcombe. 

The first services in Dixon were held by Right Reverend Phi- 
lander Chase, D. D., Bishop of Illinois iu 1837, soon after his con- 
secration. He had made a visit to Grand Detour, at that time a 
prosperous village, and finding a few people at what was then 
called Dixon's Ferry he stopped over for a sei'A'ice. Soon after a 



352 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

priest, tlie Reverend James De Pui, was settled here, but just 
when he came or when he went away are uncertain dates. 

In 1845 Rev. Abraham J. Warner was appointed missionary 
at Grand Detour and parts adjacent. He hekl regular services 
in Dixon, Sterling, Elkhorn Crrove and other places. 

Prom 1851 to 1858 the services were held bj^ missionaries gen- 
erally located at Grand Detour, whose names cannot be ascer- 
tained. 

In 1858 a jiarish organization was effected by the election of 
the following wardens and vestrymen. A small frame church 
was erected on Peoria avenue, near Third street. In 1871 the new 
stone church was built, and consecrated on October 18, 1872. The 
rectors of the church have been as follows : The Reverends John 
Wilkinson, Abraham J. Warner, George C. Street, James W. 
Coe, H. H. De Garno, D. W. Dresser, D. D., William A. Wil- 
liams, Marison Byllesby, Samuel Edson, W. Henry Jones, Wil- 
liam W. Steele, John Wilkinson, Henry 0. Granger, John 0. 
Sage, John M. Ericcson, Albert B. Wliitcombe. 



CHAPTER XXill 
EAST GROVE TOWNSHIP 

Hamilton's immediate neighbor to the east, was nearer the 
Peoria trail, and so was much sooner settled. In the thirties David 
Welty, while building his log honse just over the line in Marion, 
lived in East Grove. When set ott" in 1865, Fenwiek Ajiderson was 
elected first supervisor. 

In 1836 "Squire" Charles Ealvey purchased a claim from one 
William T. Wells, and the next year he moved upon it, the north 
1/^ of section Si, in a grove, from which the townsliip derived its 
name. Over in Marion, six miles away, lived his nearest neighbor, 
a Mr. Robinson, who in 1839, sold his claim to David Welty. Mr. 
Ealvey li^-ed right there mitil the day of his death, with brief 
exceptions when he stepped over into Bureau cdunty to lands he 
owned there. In 1832 he enlisted in the company of Thomas Car- 
lin, later Governor, and served in the Black Hawk war. 

And right here appears probably the most interesting character 
in Lee comity's history, Joseph Smith, "Dad Joe," as he was called 
familiarly. Dad had a voice like a fog horn and it was said of him 
that peoi:)le thirty miles away knew when it was 4 o'clock in the 
morning because they could hear Dad Joe calling up his cattle. 

In 1833 he settled in the grove bearing the name Dad Joe's 
grove just into Bui'eau comity, to the southwest of East Grove, 
some three miles. Under the oldei- boundaries, he was about the 
same distance into Jo Daviess county. He too was a Black Hawk 
war veteran, serving as spy imder Col. Zachary Taylor. H. W. 
Bogardus too was a very prominent old settler. 

Penwick Anderson Avas another old settler. Fi-om Canadaigua, 
New York, he migrated to Dixon in 1841. There he remained until 
1849. In that year he moved down to East Grove and settled on 
the south Yo of section 34. He pi;i'chased his claim from Robert 

3.53 



354 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Tait, who had been a workmau fur Johu Deere in his plow shops 
at Grand DeTour for many years. The rude log house on this 
place was the stage house for years on the old Galena, Dixon, 
Peoria road. In 1852 Fenwick Anderson, with S. P. Mcintosh, put 
up a kiln of 200,000 j)rick in the south part of the grove, which 
when burned proved to be a hi'st class article and from them he 
built his residence in 1853. This experiment may be said to con- 
stitute the whole range of manufacturing effort in East Grove 
township, although it may be asked why it was not continued when 
such excellent results were secured. 

Thomas Shehau came to Bureau coiinty in 1844 and moved to 
section 35 iu the year 1849, having bought a claim from John 
Kasbier. 

S. P. Mcintosh came up from Alton, Illinois, to attend the 
Dixon laud sales and in the course of his visit he Ijought the east I/2 
of 36. But he did not move here until the year 1856. 

John Downey, A. A. Spooner, John Flynn, M. Coleman, A. Bar- 
low, D. Sullivan, Henry IIuhl)cll and Simon Tubbs settled soon 
afterwards. 

East Grove has been the scene of more than one tragedy and it 
furnished a Lee county grand jury with the first nuirder for which 
an indictment was returned. 

John W. Harrison, in 1842, was a deputy sheriff from Toronto, 
Canada. While on a visit to this country he was murdered by 
James S. Bell, on a spot near the northwest corner of section 35. 
David Welt}', justice of the peace, bound Bell over to the grand 
jury and the fellow was taken to Dixon and lodged in jail. 

Sept. 13, 1842, the indictment was returned into court. Motions 
to quash the indictment and to continue the case wei'e made by 
counsel and were denied by .Judge Thomas C. Browne and on a 
motion for a change of venue the case was sent to Whiteside county. 
There he was tried and convicted of manslaughter and sent to the 
Alton penitentiary. After serving a part of his sentence he 
escaped and never afterwards was heard from. 

And right here is met the most dramatic criminal episode ever 
enacted in Lee county. In the i)ortions of this book relating to the 
old trails, the Cleaveland turnpike will l)e recalled. It was built 
over the creek on section 3 in East Gi'ove township. 

A peddlei' had been rolibcd b\- the bauditti of the pi'airie and 
mui'dered. 

Croft's house was the end of the turu])ike and was the toll 
house. It was situated in a lonesome G^Kl-forsaken place. Title 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 355 

to it came to Charles Croft from the heirs of a Mr. Millard, who in 
turn bought the pike and toll house from Cleaveland. Croft came 
into possession before the year 18i9. Subsequent to the murder 
of the peddler, strange persons visited the toll house and held many 
conferences with Croft. Living with Croft was a hired girl named 
Montgomery, aged about fifteen. 

Shortly afterwards the young girl went home to Aisit her 
mother at Dad Joe's Grove and to her she expressed her fears and 
refused to return. As a reason, she said she feared for her life, to 
remain. But she was persuaded to return and did return. 

Shortly afterAvards this Charles Croft who was repiited to be a 
memljer of the Ijanditti came to one Ilyra Axtell, and the two came 
"to my house inquiring if I had seen or heard anything of Croft's 
hired girl. Her name was Silena Montgomery, aged al>()ut fifteen 
years. Neither myself nor family could give any tidings, not hav- 
ing seen or heard of her for some time. Croft claimed that she had 
disappeared without saying anything to the family of her intention 
of going away, and what had become of lier was a mystery. Axtell 
took an opportunity to conunuuicate with me, unoljserved l)y Croft, 
and said he believed there was something wrong in the mattei', and 
that the neighborhood sht)uld be informed and a search made. I 
agreeing with this suggestion, we accompanied Croft to his house 
(being connected with the toll gate on the south end of the turn- 
pike! and went with him about the premises. There were three 
men mowing not far from the house, Eli Shaw, and the names of 
the other Uvo I camiot rememlier, except that the first name of one 
was Dennis. There was also in tlieir company one Sanuiel Perkins, 
usually called 'Sam Patch,' having a rifle with him. After being 
there some time and having conversation with them in various 
phases, Axtell and myself became more fully convinced that a mis- 
demeanor had been committed. We concluded to go in different 
directions and inform the mother of the missing girl, who resided 
in Dad Joe's Grove, or in that vicinity, and the neighborhood gen- 
erally. He went west and south and I north and east, and )jy night 
nearly a hundred people had gathered. We searched that luglit 
through the woods and grass and the next day until noon, and 
finally Croft's house. Croft had stated that the girl had taken 
all her clothes with her. While searching the second story, we dis- 
covered that one of the ceiling boards had marks of having been 
moved and replaced. We took off the board and found the best 
clothes of the missing girl, and under them implements for making 
counterfeit half dollars. These incidents strengihened the con- 



356 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

victious of foul lAiiy. A consiiltation of the crowd was had, and 
two (W. B. Stuart and James lihiiuseu), were deputed to go to 
Dixon for a boat with which to explore (Jreeu river. There was 
an element of the credulous who sent two, Samuel Meek, Jr., and 
Patrick McFadden, to consult a fortune teller. The search was 
continued while these conunittees were gone but without success. 
The committees returned; the one with a boat and Nathaniel G. H. 
Mori'ill, the owner, and the other reporting that the fortune teller 
said a nuirder had been committed, and live persons were impli- 
cated; that the one who had committed the o^•ert act had neither 
boots on nor was barefooted ; that he was ragged and wore a straw 
hat ; that the law would ne\'er be enforced against any of them, and 
yet the public would be satisfied that they were the ones who were 
concerned in the matter. Perkins wore moccasins and otherwise 
answered the desciiption of the lirst one spoken of. The search 
went on. This N. G. H. Morrill was peculiarly well adapted for 
working in business like this. About this time Stuart and Blaii', 
each with a party of men, went to their respective homes for din- 
ner, and when Blair arrived his wife infoimed him that Perkins 
had been there during the forenoon looking jiale and haggard, and 
inquired of her if they had dragged the lower bayou. She told him 
she did not kn(»w, and he wi'ut away hurriedly. Blair deemed this 
important tidings, hurried through his dinner and came to Stuart's 
with the information, and (m consultation a complaint was made 
and a warrant was issued l»y Squire Stvuirt for the arrest of Per- 
kins, and it was placed in the hands of Constable AYillard and Rich- 
ard Meek. Previous to this Perkins had been living in a shanty 
in the grove, about half way between ("roft's and the bayou. On 
the search being instituted, he I'emoved his family and effects to 
his father-in-law's, Reul)en Bridgeman, a little north of the pres- 
ent limits of the city of Amboy. The constable, with his assistants, 
proceeded to Mr. Bridgenuin's and were informed by him that 
Perkins had taken his lifle only a short time liefore and gone into 
the coi'iiticld ( of nl)out tliirty acres ) to liunt chickens. 

"More assistants wej'e iirociiicd. and the cornfield was sur- 
rounded. By tliis time it was about 10 o'clock at night, with a 
bright niooii. 'I'lic family of Mi'. l)ridgeniau's were in bed except 
I'ci'ldiis" wife. 'I'lie old gciitlciiian Lidt ii|> and stated that Perkins 
had n<it yet returned since going into the cornfield in the after- 
n(»on. He ])ointed to a cottonwood tree, which he said was in the 
dii-ection I'ei'kins had taken; that a little before smiset they had 
heard the icqxirt of a gun which they supposed was a shot at a 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 357 

prairie ehickeu. Couytal)le AVillard, with Ricliard Meek, Jaines 
Keeling, W. B. Stuart and F. R. Duteher, went iu the direction of 
the tree, and a few rods before reaching tlie tree tliey found Per- 
kins lying on his back, dead. Notice was given to those around the 
field, and a crowd was soon there. Perkins was still grasping his 
gun with l^oth hands, and the toe of his nioccasined foot was in the 
guard on the trigger, the muzzle on his Ijreast. A portion of his 
skull was found nearly a rod from his Ixxly, the inside powder 
burnt. The coroner, Solomon Parker, was sent for, who sum- 
moned a jury of inquest. They investigated the case and reported 
the following verdict: 'The undersigned, being duly summoned 
and qualified by the coroner of l^ee count}', as a jury of inquest on 
the dead jjody of Samuel Perkins, foinul dead in the cornfield near 
Reuben Bridgeman's. l)elieve the said Perkins came to his death 
by shooting himself with a rifle gun, through the head. (Signed) 
Jesse Hale, Francis H. Northway, Joseph Farwell, William M. 
Hopkins, Samuel Bixby, Elisha Palmei', John C. Church, Ira P. 
Hale, John Skinner, R. P. Treadwell. Inlet Precinct, August 3, 
18-19.' Meanwhile the search for the missing girl had been going 
on. This Mr. Morrill ado]>ted the i^lan of going down the stream 
to where it loses itself as to liaving a channel, l^y spreading over 
the swamp, and by wading npwai'd, tlioroughly searching every 
i:)art. It Avas a dry time and the water was quite low. This plan 
was followed, and when the mouth of the little bayou (as the cor- 
oner termed it in his rep(n't) was nearly reached, the body was 
found. The upper part of the face was In'uised as though struck 
with some heavy sul)stance, and some insist that a bullet hole was 
in the forehead. The excitement ran high ; the male portion of the 
country for a dozen miles or more in every direction had come out. 
Coroner Parker was among the number and at once impaneled a 
jury of inquest, who took possession of the body and held their 
inquest. The following witnesses wei'e examined as the records 
show: Drs. J. B. Gregory, of Dixon, and Harmon Wasson of 
Amboy, as i^hysiciaus: Samuel Meek, Sr., Eli Shaw, John Koons, 
HyraAxtelbN. CI. H. Monill, Richard Meeks, T. L. Dennis, 
Charles Croft, Sally Perkins, Catherine Shaw and Lyman Hub- 
bard. After the examination closed, the following verdict was 
rendei'ed: 'We the undersigned, having been smnmoned and 
sworn to hold a jury of inquest on the dead Ijody of Silena Mont- 
gomery, fomid dead in Inlet Creek, iu Winnebago precinct, Lee 
county, and state of Illinois, and having attended to their duty l)y a 
faithful examination of the said body, and by an examination of 



358 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

witnesses iii tlie case and all diligent inquiry tliey have been able 
to institnte, do report their verdict to 1)e. that the said Sileua Mont- 
gomery came to her deatli l)y \ioleiice. and that one Samnel Per- 
kins, late of Lee county, was the innnediate agent in procuring lier 
death, as we verily believe. (Signed) Ck'orge E. Haskell, fore- 
man; J()se])h Gardner. Saliin Trow)>ridge, I. Means, Alva Hale, 
L. I). AVasson. Lewis Chipp, Cyrus Williams, Philip Mowry, Jo- 
seph Lewis, Ozias AMieeler, and 1>. F. Brandon. Winnebago pre- 
cinct, August 4, 1849.' 

"The circumstances sui'ioundiug led to tlie conclusion that 
Croft, Eli Shaw, and the two Withers that were fomid mowing hay 
for Croft at the conuuencement of the search, were implicated in 

the affair. Warrants were issued, and W. B. Stuart and 

Curtis were deputed to arrest Croft and Shaw. They, with Hyra 
Axtell, started, and on the way, near Samnel Meek's, they foiuid 
a team aud lumber wagou, and in it lay Eli Shaw, dead. One report 
is that he died from strychnine and whiskey, and that it was found 
that he had purchased some of the former at Dixon, of Doctor 
Gregor_y, on that day. From the i-ecords in Dixon, it is found that a 
coroner's inquest was not held until March 1, 1850. As his death 
occurred so long l)efore this he was probably buried and exhumed 
when the inquest was held. The verdict was as follows: 'Verdict 
of the coroner's jury, impaneled to ascertain how and in what man- 
ner the body of Eli Sliaw came to its death. We, the jury in said 
case, do tiud that Eli Shaw came to liis death fi'om causes to the 
jurv unknown. Dixon, March 1, 1850. (Signed) John Dement, 
foreman ; A. L. Porter, A. H. Eddy, L Means, N. F. Porter, J. W. 
Davis, J. M. Cropsey, C. A. SmitJi, John V. Eustace, Thomas H. 
Ayi'es, Cyrus Williams, N. CI. H. Moi-rilL' After leaving the liod}' 
of Shaw iu the cai'c of Meeks, the tlu'cc l)efore mentioned went on 
to Croft's house, arriving thei'o at a late hour of the night. Near 
the door they fouud a horse and spring wagon and a trunk in the 
wag(ni. Ci'oft was about ready to go away. Through a rift in the 
window curtain tlicx' saw liiin load oue pistol and lay it u])on the 
table near him aud take up another and connnence to load it. At 
this juncture the doin- was burst open, the loaded pistol and Croft 
grabbed at the same time, aud Croft duly ironed by the arresting 
party. The truuk was taken from the wagou. Croft placed in it, 
audi Stiiai-1 liurriedly <lrove to Dixon and delivered the prisoner to 
tlie jaih'r. Croft's ^\■i^(■ and l\ei' bi'olher. John Bryant, were in the 
house af the time of 1lie ai'i-rsl l»ul did not attempt to interfere. 
The remaining two ini|iiicated ones hd't the vicinity, but were heard 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 359 

of at Peoria, aud the officers liaviug the warrants for their arrest 
proceeded there, found and took them in cliarc;e. Tliey were ironed 
and placed upon a steamer for Peru, there to talvc the stage for 
Dixon. Not h»ng after leaving Peoria, the prisoners, having the 
privilege of walking about the boat, watched their o})portunity and 
simultaneously threw themselves overboard and were drowned, 
the irons upon them facilitating to make an effectual taking 
otf in this way. Of the hve implicated, only Croft noAV 
remained alive. He remained in jail, having been indicted l:)y the 
grand jury Aug. 23, 1849, and the case continued to the next 
term. His wife visited him occasionally, and a few days before 
the term and short!}' after one of these visits the jailor, calling at 
the cell, found Croft with his throat cut, and life extinct; a razor 
lay by with which the dt-ed was done. The next day, a coroner's 
inquest was held, which resulted in the following verdict: 'Upon 
the view of the bod}^ of Charles Croft, now lying dead in the jail 
of Lee county, at Dixon, Illinois, we the jury tif inquest duly impan- 
eled and sworn diligently to inquire, and a true presentment make, 
how, in what manner, and by whom or what, the body of the said 
Charles Croft, which here lies dead, came to his death, do find that 
the said Charles Cro'ft came to his death by cutting his own throat 
with a razor, on the afternoon of the 22d of November, A. D. 1849, 
while confined in the jail of Lee county. (Signed) William W. 
Heaton, foreman; Charles Dement, E. W. Hine, J. B. Brooks, 
James Benjamin, A. ]\I. Pratt, R. B. Loveland, James Campliell, 
Horace Preston, E. B. Blackman, Gilbert Messer, Elias B. Stiles. 
Dixon, Lee Coimty, Illinois, November 23, 1849.' The theory gen- 
erally held in relation to this matter, which caused the murder of 
the girl Salina, is as follows: Croft's ])remises was considered 
a rendezvous of the banditti of the prairie of those times. Croft 
owned the tiu'upike across the Winnebago swani])S and kept the 
toll gate at the south end, it lieing near the center of section 3, 
of East Grove. Several individuals had been known to pass over 
the turn])ike fi'om the north and were not heard of afterwards, 
especially a i>ed(llei-. who had foi-merly frecpiented tliose [)arts, and 
it is sup])osed this hired girl knew so much of the workings «if this 
banditti, that they concluded it was not safe for her to live and as 
'dead men tell no tales,' they nmrdered her. Croft planned the 
mode of the proceeding, Perkins was guilty of the overt act. and 
the otlu'r three liel]ied to secrete the 1)ody. So all were, as princi- 
pals or accessories. parti<-ipants in the matter." (From the ]>apers 
of the late William B Andruss). 



:^60 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The eonclusiuu of this series of fearful tragedies is best related 
))y the late Mrs. Grace Everett Johnson, daughter of Dr. Oliver 
Everett, who li\'ed on the corner opposite, to the north. The jail 
at that time was located u^jou the southeast corner of Second street 
and Ottawa avenue. Across the street to the north, where the 
Ijresent Elks clubhouse has been built, was the location of the old 
Everett home. 

"The county jail in those days was in the northwest corner of 
the lot now owned by Mr. George Steel, and just across the street 
from our house. AVhen Croft, one of the men who committed those 
terrible nmrders on Green river in the early days, cut his throat 
with a razor accommodatingl^v sujoplied him by his wife, the sheriff 
rushed over for my father. When he got there he at once saw that 
nothing could be done to save the man's life, and, indeed, it was 
but a few minutes until he breathed his last, thus closing another 
chapter in that terrible rec(n'd of crime.'' 

The manner of supplying the razor was 'as follows: The wife 
had been permitted to visit liim at the jail many times. At last 
just before his trial was to be called, she baked the razor in a loaf 
of bread and with it the wretch cut his throat. 

In some places the name has been spelled Crofts; in others, 
Croft, but liy far the best authorities spell it Croft. 

It will be noticed too that the girl's given name is spelled in two 
ways. I would think the one used in the verdicts was right. 



CHAPTER XXIV 
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP 

Hamilton is comparatively new in the matter of history, for 
the very good reason that for a long period, most of it was under 
water. Winneliago swamp covered it until a general system of 
drainage brought the land into a state of cultivation. 

I may say just a word here to the effect that for years at first, 
Winnebago swamp was ajijjlied to both the very large swamps 
which lay in IjCC county. After settlements grew, however, the 
eastern portion was called Inlet and the western portion was still 
called Winnebago. Inlet creek or Green river connects them. 
Between, for a distance of six or eight miles, the land was not sub- 
merged. In fact the city of Amboy lies midway between them. 

For a long while all that territory now embraced within the 
township of East Grove. May, Hamilton and the south half of 
Marion, was called Hamilton. Later, East Grove and Hamilton 
were thrown together and known as Hamilton. Until Lee county 
was organized, this territory was a part of old Inlet. 

In 1856 May was oi'ganized ; in 1859 Marion was organized and 
in 1865 East Grove M^as organized and taken from Hamilton. Since 
that date, Hamilton has remained six miles square ; a government 
township. 

The earliest history of Hamilton has not been preserved and 
dates at first will be found but seldom. 

Either Charles or Ross Freeman, brothers, was the first man to 
build a house in Hamilton. He built on the south half of section 
32, but the date is not known. Subsequently this house was moved 
to another location and converted into a schoolhoTise. 

Jacob Pope, a German, was the first man to build a house and 
make a home, and he built on the southeast of 26 in 1854. Morris 
Logue from New Jersey came in 1854. David and John Knight 

Vol I— 2"( 

361 



362 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

from Ohio came iu 1854. David Griggs, another Ohio man, settled 
tliere iu 1857. J. F. McMurray, a Pennsylvauian, arrived there 
iu the spring of 1857. In 185(3 Ainos T. Keigwiu bought the north- 
vrest of 27 and in 1858 built a house thereon. He came from Wind- 
ham, Connecticut. In 1858 E. D. Carpenter built for Anios Stone, 
a house on the northeast of 2(3. J. Shields bought and moved upon 
land in 13 and 24, in 1858. William Scully settled on the northwest 
of 24 in 1858. Michael Dunn settled on 24 in 1859. Bennett Havens 
came about the same time. L. B. Moore and M. i^leming came in 
the early sixties. 

By reference to the old maps it will be noticed that the Rev. N. 
C. Collins was a conspicuous tigTire in Hamilton lauds. He bought 
swamp land heavil}' and held it for many years. He lived in 
LaMoille at the time. 

All of the above named settlers moved into the township from 
the south and settled on the south side of the swamp. The north 
side remained vacant for some time longer, evidencing the oft 
repeated story that the settlers worked outward from the highways 
and even then ventured but slowly because of the fear of the prai- 
ries. In such a town as Hamilton, which not only was treeless, but 
covered with water, it shoidd cause no surprise at its lateness of 
settlement. 

On the north side of the swamp Arold T. Anderson, of Polo, 
oj)ened up a farm on section 7. William Rink of Dixon was the 
first to break up land on the north side of the town. He owned part 
of section 3. The first settler there was John D. Shaf er, a bachelor. 
He built a cabin on section 8 and herded vast numl^ers of cattle 
over the unoccupied lands. That was a favorite spot for people 
from far and near to send their cattle to be pastured for the sum- 
mer. From as far as Dixon stock was sent down there. 

James Durr settled on the northwest of 19 in 18()2. 

William B. Stuart served Hamilton as its first supervisor. R. 
B. Viele succeeded him. In 1855 Stuart was elected again. 

Though slow to settle, Hamilton was alive to its needs from the 
start. Mrs. Cornelia Mayona, daughter of A. T. Keig-win taught 
the first school of the township in a room in the house of what later 
became the David Griggs house. jMiss Lizzie Larkins and Miss 
Lavina Swisher followed. When McMurray moved back into 
Bureau county, his aliandoned house was converted into a school- 
house and Mrs. IMayona taught there. LTp until the fall of 1863 
teachers were paid by subscription. Tlien district munber one was 
formed and the next spring a building was bought from Ross Free- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 36:J 

man on section 32 and moved over on section ?A. This was used 
until 1874 when a new school building was built on section 35. 
District number two was organized at the same time as number one 
and Miss Lydia Havens taught the first school in a part of Thad- 
deus May's dwelling. In 1864 the first schoolhouse was built in 
the southeast corner of section 25. Afterwards it was moved to the 
southwest corner. 

In the early day the settler generally took his gam out on Sun- 
days. Game was more than abundant. It was almost a nuisance. 
Water fowl almost clouded the skies when in flight over the swamps 
of Hamilton. Large flocks of ducks, geese, sand hill cranes, snipe 
and plover might be had almost with a sling shot. For years Ham- 
ilton was the sportman's paradise. 

Meeting houses were not well attended in consequence. One 
was started over in Bureau county JTist over the line, in the Dodge 
schoolhouse. In order to interest the Hamilton people in church 
matters, several men took the matter in hand. They were David 
Griggs. William Griggs, Solomon Welch, J. F. McMurray, John- 
son Griggs and J. H. Knight, who contributed the salary of Rever- 
end Ford, a neighbor, who consented to preach. And pray, what do 
you think he was paid per Sunday for preaching? Fifty cents! 
Yet he succeeded in getting together a congi'egation. Prof. I. B. 
Dodge led the singing with his violin. Man}' of the congregation 
were not devout at all times. But the services were attended regu- 
larly and they had a beneficial influence on the commimity. 

Religious services later were held irregularly at the homes of 
A. T. Keigwin, John H. Sayers and Ezekiel Sayers. 

The Hamilton of today is a township of wealth. Only a few 
days ago one solid section of land sold for $100 per acre. That was 
a rare bargain. 



CHAPTEE XXV 
HARMON TOWNSHIP 

Like other towns far i-emoved from the okl highways or stage 
lines, Harmon was one of the newer towns in point of setth'ment. 

John D. Rosbroolv is said to have been tlie first settler in this 
townsliip. He bought a tract of land in the eastern j^art of the 
township:), subdued it and very soon other settlers followed. But 
Ml'. Rosbrook had few neighljors for a very long time. 

In 1853, with three sons, he came from Niagara county. New 
York, and settled at the "Lake," a clear body of water covering 
something like forty acres of land. Tlie following spring the two 
other sons came out. George Rosln'ouk held the plow that broke 
the first sod in Harmon townshi]). Pretty soon Mrs. Robert Tuttle 
brought her family from Knox county and settled in Harmon. 
Mr. Tuttle, Avho had come fr(jni New Hampshire, settled in Knox 
county. He had been a lumberman, and desiring to obtain employ- 
ment in the forests of the North, he started to walk northward. 
At Dixon he was taken very sick. A man named Henry Stores 
drove down to Knox comity and lirought Mrs. Tuttle back to Dixon 
just in time to see her husband before he died. She was a sister 
of Mitchell Roslirook and very soon she with her five children 
located in Harmon and built a good house. This was in 1854. Very 
soon she opened a private school in her house ; Miss Vienna Tuttle 
taught, and many a good old-fashioned dance was given in the 
early days by that same estimable lady, Mrs. Tuttle. 

Ox teams were used to break the sod. Fortunately sod crops 
prospered with the new settlers so that no especial hardships were 
encountered. 

In the early days of the country snakes were very plentiful and 
to some of Harmon's early settlers it seemed as though there were 
many more in that township than in any other town in the county. 

365 



366 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Rattle.suakes especiallj' were a source of great aunoyauce. Blue 
racers would crawl over ou the sod to bask iu the sun and remain 
until the ox team came along to frighten them away. The blue 
racer many times grew excessively familiar. So much so that he 
would wind himself aromid the ankles of the plowboj^s and frighten 
them half to death. 

In 1854 Thomas Sutton and his large family came to Harmon 
and settled a mile south of the lake. It is said of Sutton that there 
were nineteen children in his family and often he lamented because 
there were not an even twenty. 

In 1851 Mitchell Rosbrook came to Lee county from New 
Hampshire with his family of wife and six children and two years 
later settled iu Harmon. This devout gentleman founded the first 
Sunday school in Harmon township. It was held iu the granary 
of John D. Rosbrook. This same INIitchell Rosbrook built the first 
house erected on Moimt Washington in the White Mountains. 

Lewis Hidlinger, John L. Porter and James Porter, Jr., came 
along soon after. The fii'st two elections were held at the house of 
Mitchell Rosbrook. 

In 1856-57 Austin Balcli with his wife and two children moved 
into the township. So did Joseph Julien, C. H. Seifkin, Israel 
Perkins, George Stillings, Henry and Louis Isles. 

At this first election just mentioned, James McMauus was 
elected supervisor; Mitchell Rosbrook, town clerk and George 
Stillings, constable. 

Bogs, swamps and imi:)assa]de sloughs bothered the Harmon 
people fearfully in the early day ; more perhaps than almost any 
other people, and the stories of miring down and the difficulties 
encountered in dropping into the mud, taking off the load and then 
taking the wagon apart to get it ashore, would baffle the autoist of 
today. 

Game abounded in the township during its infancy to such an 
extent that to repeat some of the stories related of Inmters would 
set down the person telling the story today, as an extravagant liar; 
yet those stories were true. 

.Mr. C. J. Rosbrook is the relial)le authority for the statement 
that Charles K. Shellhamer sliot one hundred geese down there 
in one day — a wagon box full. A hunter from Dixon, named Kipp 
who will be remembered by some of us older people, shot and 
killed thirt.v-six mallard ducks with one shot. Five deer out of a 
gang of thirteen were killed by a party of hunters. Cattle herding in 
Harmon was done on a scale as large as in Hamilton. Harmon too 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 367 

seemed to be in the line of cattle drives and Mr. Rosbrook has told 
us of one band of five thousand Texas cattle passing through Har- 
mon on the way to the Chicago market. 

He also has told of us once seeing a colony of sandhill cranes 
not far away which covered nearly one thousand acres. Game was 
that plentiful. 

When Alonzo Kinyuu projected his road from Rock Falls 
through Lee county, it was graded through Harmon. 

Lewis Hullinger, who came to the township in 1855, was super- 
visor at about the time the railroad demanded the issiumce of bonds 
in consideration of the l:>uilding through the township. Amboy, 
Brooklyn and Wyoming had voted the bonds and issued them. 
They litigated their legality, but ultimately the bonds had to be 
paid. Not so with Lewis Hullinger. He opposed the bond scheme 
and the issuance of any bonds and Harmon was spared the liability 
which nearl}^ bankrupted Amboy, Wyoming and Brooklyn, largely 
through the pertinacious fight put up by Lewis Hullinger. 

But the Harmon of today is a splendid body of land. Large 
sums of money have been spent to drain the land, and while some 
portions of the Harmon lands are sandy, the great majority is black 
loam, rich, and great crops ai'c raised. As a grain market Harmon 
keejDS pretty well in the lead. T doubt if there is more than one 
other town in the county which ships more grain than Harmon — 
something like six hundred thousand bushels last year, by the 
Neola and the other elevators. 

L). D. Considine does an enormous business in general mei'chan- 
dising. Thomas P. Long also does an enormous business in agri- 
cultural implements. W. H. Kugler and Frank Kugler each enjoy 
a fine general trade. Harmon has a l)ank. of which Mr. AY. H. 
Kugler owns controlling interest. 

The Harmon schools long have l)een noted for their efficiency. 
The building is a beautiful Inick. LI. J. Durr also runs a nice hard- 
ware business. 

Harmon has one of the best plants for fire protection and 
domestic use in Lee county. A very modern standpipe produces 
a force sufficient to throw four streams over the tallest building. 
It is also forced into various homes and business blocks in the 
village. 

At present, Harmon has a population of 350. It is located on 
the Chicago. Burlington & Quincy Railroad. 

It was through Harmon that the big tornado crossed liefore 
devastating so many homes further east. But in Harmon not a 



368 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

bit of damage was done. Of course not many people dwelt in this 
township then; but those wlio remember, say the storm had lost 
control of its force while crossing Harmon. 

Recently, the Northwestern Railroad in reaching Peoria, 
entered Harmon township, but no station has been established in 
this township along the line of the road. 

Harmon early learned the l^enefits of hard roads and now, year 
by year, her people are spending considerable sums for macadam 
for her muddy roads. The rural schools of Harmon township 
number six, I believe, and I am told that they rank just as high as 
the splendid village schools. Count_y superintendents tell me that 
Harmon for years has had the best of schools and that the children 
rank high in all their examinations. Only a few months ago, St. 
Flannen 's Catholic church burned down. Nothing was saved. Yet 
with commendable jDerseverance, the congregation went to work 
and in less than three months arrangements had been perfected 
and the funds had been i^rovided to build the present beautiful new 
church and parsonage. Church work in Harmon and Marion takes 
front rank among the towns of Lee county. The new church and 
parsonage were dedicated last fall. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
LEE CENTER TOWNSHIP 

Seldom indeed, does one meet in fact or in fiction a spot around 
which so much and such intense dramatic interest has centered. 

In the field of human activities, Lee Center township has wit- 
nessed scenes ranging from the very highest social and intellectual 
refinement and culture, as well as the sweetest religious privileges, 
down to revolting crimes and a veritable reign of terror. 

Inlet, the first settlement of Lee Center township, in section 
9, on the banks of Inlet creek, was the rendezvous of thieves, 
counterfeiters, fence-men and even murderers. 

The house of one was made a common hiding place for stolen 
property. On the broad highway of the great state road, men came 
and left by night. Strange horsemen would alight; their horses 
would remain tethered in the deep grove near by, mitil the small 
hours of the morning, w^hen as if by magic, horses and riders would 
disappear. The noise of loud voices would be heard, and behind 
those doors plans were concocted for all manner of crime from the 
stealing of peddlers' packs to their last crime, the nuirder of Colo- 
nel Davenport, July 4, 1845. 

Did a settler at Inlet own a fine team, the circumstance was 
learned in Nauvoo, a favorite retreat, very soon, and very jDresently 
the settler's team disappeared. Did the settler remonstrate, a 
letter attached to a stone was thrown at night, through a window, 
to the effect that any further demonstrations by the settler would 
be followed by a hasty exit of the settler, dead or alive, from the 
settlement. 

The ravages of this banditti of the jirairie extended from Ohio 
and Kentucky to Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. Inlet lieing a 
central and well known point, and favored by nature as well as by 
a small number of the first settlers, it early became a rendezvous of 

369 



■no HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

its members. Of those wlio at last resolved to take tlieir lives in their 
hands and make the attemj)t to lid Inlet of their presence, were 
Sherman Shaw, Charles F. Ingalls, Rev. Luke Hitchcock, Dr. R. F. 
Adams, Moses Crombie, Lewis Clapp, Benjamin Whittaker, a Mr. 
Starks and his sons, and throiigh their heroic efforts Inlet was 
cleansed. Those sturdy pioneers of Lee Center township sent to 
the penitentiary at Alton, Joseph Sawyer, Adolphus Bliss and 
Daniel Miller Dewey, and the witness who squealed. Charles West, 
so soon as he had delivered his testimony, left the country for his 
country's good. This drastic action was not taken so soon as the 
vigilance committees from Ogle, DeKalb and Winnebago, when in 
1841, they shot the Driscolls ; but the very instant the evidence was 
secured, that minute the Inlet branch of the banditti was dealt its 
death blow. 

The heroic bravery required of that Lee Center Vigilance Com- 
mittee cannot be comprehended fully today, surrounded as we are 
by the highest safeguards of civilization. The Haskell robbery in 
June, 1844, and its extraordinary success, emboldened the thieves 
to the point of careless bi'avado, and in that moment of weakness 
the opening wedge was secured by which a conviction was made 
possible. 

Dewey "got up the sight" for the Haskell performance and 
Fox and Birch did the work ; Fox on the inside of the Haskell house 
and Birch on the outside. Bonney in his " Banditti of the Prairie, ' ' 
page 14, second edition, mentions the matter thus : 

"West accused one Fox, alias Sutton, and John Baker of having 
conmiitted the robliery at Troy Grove, and said that most of the 
goods had been secreted at Inlet Grove, and subsequently taken to 
Iowa. He also avowed that Fox and Birch, alias Becker, alias 
Harris, committed the robbery for which Bliss and Dewey were 
sent to prison, and that the former was totally iimoeent, while the 
latter was accessory, having 'got up the sight." He further stated, 
that Fox had robl^ed one Ilaseal, a merchant at Inlet, by entering 
the house during a very severe thunder storm, and crawling upon 
the floor till he reached the trunk, wherein was deposited the 
money, and having secured it, left without being heard, although 
Mr. and Mrs. Ilaseal were lying in the bed a wake, at the time. To 
prove this, Fox sulisequently stated the conversation that had 
passed between them while he was in the act of rifling the trunk !" 
P. 14, 2d ed. 1881. 

The trunk was taken to the blaclcsmith shop and there opened 
and rifled. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 371 

The operations of the banditti at Inlet contributed materially 
towards the establishment, in lSi6, of the village of Lee Center, 
further to the northwest, on the Chicago road. Of course, rivalry 
and "feeling" had their influences, but the presence of such evil 
doers contributed most. Luke Hitchcock denominated Inlet, "A 
perfect Sodom." 

Adolphus Bliss, the first settler, who came in 1834, was followed 
by Joseph Sawyer, Daniel Miller Dewey and Charles West, in 1836. 
With the opportunities afforded by the stage road for making a 
little ready money by keei)ing tavern, 8aw_ver took out the first 
license to keep a tavern ever issued in Ogle county and Dliss took 
out the second. They were issued by the county connnissioners of 
Ogle county while in session at the house of F. Cushman, Buffalo 
Grove, March 6, 1837, and each paid therefor the sum of ten dollars. 
A schedule of charges they were permitted to make, will be found 
in that part of this work which treats of Ogle count}'. 

Bliss called his taAern The Tra\'elers Home. The sign, a rough 
board, was lettered irregularly, and nailed to the long log cabin. 
In order to boom the same he }jroceeded \ery nmch after the 
fashion of the present day town site people. On the next day, 
March 7, 1837, he and others presented a petition to the commis- 
sioners asking that viewers be appointed to \'icw for a road, a route 
past The Travelers Home. He dei^osited the sum of five dollars 
to pay the viewers expenses, which according to the rules of the 
day, was to be returned to him in case the road was located accord- 
ing to the prayer of the petition. If not, it was to be used to pay 
the expenses of the commissioners. Th()se connnissioners were 
John Dixon, Corydon R. Dewey and Zaeliariah Melugin and they 
reported unfavorably to the proposed road. . 

On the 6th of jMarch, 1837, at that same meeting. Inlet was set 
off as an election precinct and so far as its political independence 
was concerned, that day was the beginning of Inlet. 

The judges appointed for the precinct wei'e Zachariah Melugin, 
Thomas Dexter and the sul)sequently notorious Charles West. 

Inlet took in a vast territory as must be noticed Idv the distance 
these commissioners lived one from the otluT. It was l)ounded on 
the north by Dixon, Grand Detour and Oi'egon City precincts; on 
the east by the county line and on the south and west b,y the "lines 
of said county." The house of Corydon R. Dewey was made the 
polling place. At the same meeting an election was called for 
Dixon and Inlet, the only voting precincts in what now is Lee 
county, to be held April 12th, following, at which justices and 



372 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

constables were to be elected. Now, notice with what care the 
interests of the gang were conserved. Daniel Miller Dewey was 
elected justice and Charles West was elected constable, each receiv- 
ing seventeen votes. Quoting frum an old Ogle county history we 
are told, "Justice Dewey, Constable West, Adolphus Bliss (of the 
old Travelers Home), his wife, Hannah, and a few others of their 
gang, because of their 'close' connection and secret and suspicious 
ways of transacting public and private business, came to be known 
to the pioneers as 'Bliss, Dewey, West & Co.' " 

If Dewey issued a writ against a member of the gang, Constable 
West never was able to hud the offender. But he always provided 
himself with a very large supply of iuforuiatiou as to the point in 
Iowa, Wisconsin or Indiana the culprit had fled. 

The killing of the Driscolls on Monday, June 28, 1841, was 
sujjposed )iy thinking men to be sufficient evidence of the deter- 
mination by the settlers to rid the country of the banditti and to 
awe the other members of it. But that action only sul)dued certain 
of the Ogle county members. Other robberies continued with 
shocking frequency. On the night of Sept. 18, 1843, the store of 
William McKenney, of Rockf ord, was robbed of a trunk containing 
between seven hundred and eight himdred dollars. Scarcely had 
the excitement over this enormity subsided when a four-horse mail 
coach of the Frink and Walker line, about four miles out of Rock- 
ford on its way to Chicago, was robbed. The coach was full of 
passengers at the time and in full motion, yet the loss of the trunks 
and baggage was not discovered until the coach had reached New- 
bui'gh. Next morning the trunks and baggage were discovered, 
near the road, broken open and their \'aluable contents gone. It 
was a dai'ing and a skillful robbery, but not more so than the 
one pei'petrated a few weeks later, in which the house of William 
Midford was entered. 

It had been rumored that Mulford had received $15,000 from 
New Yoi'k. That report soon I'eached the Inlet and other members 
of the l)and. Mulford lived in Guilford township. Winnebago 
county. Part of the gang stood over Mr. and Mrs. Mulford, while 
others searched the house and found $400 which they carried away. 
Of course the countryside was aflame with indignation ; but so well 
did the thieves cover their tracks that for the moment, they escaped. 

In the summer of 1845, West became offended at other members 
of the hi'in "Bliss, Dewey, West & (^o.," which fact very soon 
reached the ears of some members of the committee. West was 
prevailed on to scpieal, and convictions followed. To repeat the 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 373 

matter as the story comes to me, let me coi^y an old diary I resur- 
rected just the other day in the family of the late J. H. Adams, of 
Amboy. It was kept by C. F. Ingalls. No names are mentioned for 
the very good reason that it was unwise to even coimnit to paper 
the names of members of the gang: 

' ' Banditti of the Prairie. 

. . . "These miscreants had a line of operations extending 
from Texas, through Indian Territory, Missouri, the corner of 
Iowa, and Illinois. The route of this gang extended through Lee 
county and directly through our settlement, and by my cabin. 

"Members of the gang lived among us and often supposed to be 
worthy, first class citizens, harbored, lodged and fed these traveling 
cut-throat thieves and scoiuidrcls. Those committing overt acts of 
crime, traveled mostly l)y night and were imknown among us, even 
if they were ever seen. 

"The chances of theft were described to them by our good 
neighboring rascals, and the traveling expert sinners did the rest. 

"The whole stockholders then divided the booty. 

"The gang operated mainly among people who were neither 
rich nor poor. If the settlements were poor, there was not much to 
steal, and if rich, detection and punishment were likely to be dealt 
out to them. Dr. Adams had a valualjle horse stolen, and the track 
was followed twenty-five miles to Princeton, Bureau county. A 
stream ran through a deep, unfrequented common in the neighbor- 
hood, and the horse had slipped its bridle and came out to its owner 
making its search. 

"George E. Haskell, a mei'chant of Inlet Grove, had his little 
trunk with its cash contents taken from under his bed one dark, 
stormy night, and broken open at the neighboring blacksmith shop, 
and of course, the money taken. Nobody could explain the 
probable villain concerned, yet four of our best appearing citizens 
were the transgressors. 

"Proverbially, 'Murder will out,' and the same may be said of 
all other transgressions. 

"A quantity of merchandise had been stolen in an adjoining 
county, and samples of the stolen goods Ijetra^-ed clothes of the 
same cloth in the tailor's shop of Tliomas Brown, at Inlet Grove. 
Four of our honest neighbors had engaged garments made l^y 
Mr. Brown, and had furnished material corres]>onding with sam- 
ples two gentlemen carried who were in pursuit of the transgress- 



374 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ors. The magistrate contided the fact of the tiud to only a few of 
us until the papers of ari'cst were ready and the four gentlemen 
sinniltaueously were arrested by the sheriff and taken to prison. 

"These men, when taken before two of our magistrates, were 
ordered to be delivered to the sheriff of LaSalle county, where the 
goods were stolen. By (their ) counsel, the verdict was declared to 
be illegal and I'esistauce was advised. The people then came for- 
ward in a rage. We took the ground that two judges had decided 
the law, and they were the best and only civil court just then at 
hand; S(^> the people volunteered what necessary aid the sheriff" 
might need to see the verdict executed. 

"The prisoners were l(>aded into the LaSalle county conveyance 
and the play, up to that point, was complete. After examination, 
I think three were allowed bail for appearance at the circuit court, 
and the fourth one sent to jail for want of bail bonds. The fourth 
man in jail threatened to turn states evidence if his richer con- 
federates did not bail him out. He was duly encouraged to do so, 
and he did. Some of the giiilty gang were allowed to visit the jail, 
and sleep there so they would converse and acknowledge facts the 
people wanted the jury to know. Before the final trial came testi- 
mony sufficiently fatal was gained. Thi'ee of the prisoners went t<» 
states prison and he whu testified against the gang disappeared 
from sight and hearing among us to this day. We watched him 
with rifles as citizens, in his and our own defense. I think he might 
have been spirited away and his valuable testimony lost, had we not 
given him needed protection." 

With the publication of this valuable diary, the story of the 
conviction in the LaSalle county circuit court, of Adolphus Bliss, 
Joseph Sawyer and Daniel Miller Dewey, is told. Never before 
has it been possible to tell the story accurately. Reasons of fear, 
or maudlin sympathy for others, has kept it from the pages of 
history imtil at this minute not one living person rmt near the old 
scenes of action knows for what crime the culju-its suffered. In 
every single instance I have ))een told that it was for fencing stolen 
projterty, instead of receiving it, even by the few who were alive 
though yomig, at the time. Once West had told his story and his 
('(>ni})anions had 1)een removed, he disclosed other important stories. 
Among the names disclosed of other guilty participants as Avell as 
actors, wei-e (Uiarl(>s Oliver, Jr., and William McDowell, of Hock- 
ford, Fox and Birch, Bridge, Davis, Thomas Aiken and Baker. 
Among other I'evelations made by West, was the plan by which 
McKenney's stoi'e was robbed, and the names of the rolibers, Tu 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 375 

Bureau couut}' auotlier cumulative circumstance dovetailed very 
nicely with West's confession. 

There, the gang tried to I'ailroad another member to the peni- 
tentiary who was feared to be getting weak-kneed. While in jail 
the fellow confirmed the secrets of the Mulfurd robbery, already 
communicated by one Irving A. Stearns and West, and in conse- 
quence Oliver and McDowell of Winnebago county and William 
K. Bridge of Ogle county were indicted for conunitting the Mul- 
ford robbery, and after considerable strategy, all were arrested 
and taken to Rockford. Bail was refused. A month later, the 
murder of Colonel Davenport, July 4, 1845, fanned the slumbering 
anger of the people into a fury. Aug. 26, 1845, the trial of Oliver 
et al. was commenced at Rockford before Judge Thomas C. 
Browne. Stearns, who had gravitated into the Michigan peniten- 
tiary, and West were produced as witnesses. West testified that 
while Oliver was not present, he planned the Mulford robbery and 
received a shai'e of the stolen money. A sharp cross-exannnation 
failed to break his story and Oliver was found guilty and sentenced 
to the Alton penitentiary for eight years. Later McDowell was 
convicted. Bridge took a change of venue to Ogle county, where he 
pleaded guilty and was sentenced. 

Bliss died in the penitentiary. Miller Dewey never returned. 
Sawyer, however, did return to brave public feeling and he lived 
not far from the early scenes of his activities until the day of his 
death many years afterwards. In this connection it may be 
interesting to know that Sawyer was appointed first overseer of the 
poor for Lee county on AjDril 16, 1840. 

It took courage to combat that lawless gang ; but the good people 
of the Inlet community Iiad that courage, and in a new center of 
social activity the connnunity's refined enjo3anents were carried to 
loftiest points. 

That removal was Ijegun in 1844, and very soon thei'eafter it 
was completed. Lee Center was planned in 1846, and Avith the 
erection of the Academy, Inlet left the map. But before leaving 
its actors altogether I may as well add that an Inlet man, Milan 
Barnes, drove the stage coach from Chicago to Dixon which con- 
tained Bonney and his prisoner. Birch. 

Inlet was located on lioth sides of Inlet creek at the point where 
the Chicago mail and stage road crossed it. The business portion 
of the place was located on the east side, although improvised 
taverns were to be found on the west side, and Bliss and the Deweys 
lived on the west side. The Travelers Home was on the west side. 



376 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Oscar Dewey, son of Corydon R. Dewey, who was born in the old 
log cabin at Inlet in 1840, informed me that his father located there 
in 1836. He told me also that Thomas J. Gray kept tavern on the 
east side and also the barns where the stage horses were changed. 
Gray and his sister, subsequently Mrs. DeWolf (now of Dixon), 
kept a grocery store whose stock included tobaccos. And right here 
it should be explained that Corydon R. Dewey, though related, 
shoidd not in any manner be associated with Miller Dewey. He 
also is my anthorit,y for the statement that David Tripp, Sr., kept 
a log tavern on the east side of the creek, one room of which was 
used as a school room. Corydon R. Dewey permitted his house to 
be used as a tavern during the California fever, but that was all. 

He erected a sawmill on the west side of the creek and a Major 
Chamberlain erected one on the east side. By a trade made soon 
after, Dewey became owner of the (.!hamberlain mill and he ran 
both imtil into the fifties. 

Mr. Albert Z. Bodine confirmed the Tripp tavern and school 
room story and added that there had l)een three David Tripps in 
Lee Center, the grandfather of tlie tavern and his son and grand- 
son. 

At Lee Center, when Inlet had removed there, Mr. Bodine 
clerked in the Hitchcock store for two years while Lidce Hitchcock 
was postmaster, in fact, the first postmaster of Lee Center; and 
during that time he received the mails from the stages going in 
each direction ; that from Chicago was due at 10 :30 P. M., and that 
from Dixon was diie at 10 P. M., when on time. When, however, 
the roads were muddy and the going bad, the mails came along at 
any time of night and sometimes not until the noon following, 
pretty much as trains nowadays come along. 

He told me also that the fare from Dixon to Chicago was $5 and 
from Inlet and Lee Center, $4.50. 

Corn at market then was worth in trade 10 cents; wheat in 
Chicago was worth 35 and 40 cents; cattle on the hoof, 2 or 21^ 
cents ; dressed pork, 2y._> cents. 

From Dixon, Lee Center was the first stop, then at Inlet, the 
stage still sto])pe(1 to change horses; jNlelugin's Grove was the next 
stop, where at John Gilmore's the horses were changed. Then at 
West Paw Paw, the next stop was made, it being the desii-e of the 
Prink and Walker people to make no more than twelve miles at a 
time. Trips were mode every day but Sunday. 

At Lee Center the oM Daniel Frost tavern still stands, pretty 
much as it did then. .Tolm 4]isenberg occupies it. T also learned 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 377 

from Mr. Bodiue that groceries were bought pretty generally at 
Pern ; bnt that Chicago was the best wheat and livestock market. 

A day and a half, or a da}' and half the night, were consumed 
generally in making the stage trip to Chicago. 

Mrs. James M. Shaw, daughter of Russel Linn, of Lee Center, 
gave me the best account of the old days I was able to get in all of 
my Inlet work. The old red and yellow stage coaches, droning 
along, appeared to her vision as distinctly as when they used to 
travel past the home of her father, on the old Chicago road. They 
were of the old Concord type, rounding up front and rear, and 
given their easy swinging motion because they rested on leather 
springs, layered together in fourteen layers. 

Mrs. Shaw went through the fearful tornado or cyclone of 1860. 
She and Mrs. E. M. Grose, who live in Dixon, and Ira W. Lewis, 
also of Dixon, all of whom passed through the storm, have given me 
the infoiination from which I am a])le to give the first connected 
story of that devastating storm. 

The storm struck Lee comity at aliout the center of the west line 
of Harmon township. It passed directly through Harmon and 
Marion townshiios, almost in a straight easterly direction, and aside 
from little destruction of fencing, did nothing destructive in either 
town. In continued its easterly course into Ainboy township, but 
almost immediately it veered to the northeast and, passing to the 
north of the city of Aiu])oy, it did the first real damage when it 
reached the farm of Michael Morse on the northeast quarter of 
section 9 in Ainboy township. Here the Imildings were demolished. 
Mr. Morse was badly hurt and his wife. Trial, and their daughter, 
Emma, were killed. 

Continuing northeasterly, it reached the farm of Isaac Gage. 
In passing it shook the Linn house in which Mrs. Shaw was sitting, 
like a cradle, and the vilirations of that awful evening come back 
to her in all their awful realism, whenever the day retui'ns to hei" 
memory. > 

Every building on the Gage place on the northwest quarter of 
section 1 in Amboy townshij) was destroyed, and Ethelbert, a yoimg 
son, was killed. Another son was injured so badly that he died soon 
afterwards. Another son, Luke, also was injured so seriously that 
he was an invalid for many years. A daughter. Helen. Ijy name, 
also was disabled for a long time. 

Mrs. Grose in describing the scene told me she felt sure the 
duration of the cyclone was not more than a minute and a very 
short one too. 



378 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

At the same instant almost, the wind struck a tenant house just 
across the road from the Gage i^lace, on the premises of Judge 
Lorenzo Wood, lifted it from the groimd and never again did any- 
body ever hear of that house. Not a single board or splinter of all 
the debris was ever found or recognized. The homestead in which 
Judge Wood lived was wrecked a little but not much. The tenants 
in the tenant building were spilled out, but not injured to speak of. 
The ceiling above in the Wood house was pushed down and it 
pinned down Judge Wood, who was lying on the bed, so that he 
could scarcely move ; yet he was not scratched. The Peter LaForge 
house was hit next. His kitchen was cut off neatly from the main 
part of the house, but the damage was very slight indeed. 

The Horace Preston i^lace was visited next. Mrs. Grose is a 
daughter of Mr. Preston and she went through experiences in this 
storm which come to few people, and she earnestly prays that it 
never will come again to any members of her family. Upstairs, 
Mr. Preston said to his wife, "Go down into the cellar." Mrs. 
Preston jiicked up the little three-year-old boy and started down 
stairs and Mr. Preston })ickod up the little eight-year-old daughter, 
Ella, now Mrs. Grose, and the little four-year-old daughter, one 
under each arm, and started for the cellar ; but before Mr. Preston 
had advanced six feet the roof went oft" and he and the children, 
still in his arms, were sent sailing over the tops of trees, and he 
landed on his feet in the garden, about three hundred and fifty feet 
away. JNL's. Preston held on to the l)oy, Horace, Jr., and lie was 
killed in her arms. 

A splinter was sent into the side of Mr. Preston which troubled 
him fearfully and ultimately took him oif in death. 

In the cellar of the Preston house there were eggs, pans of milk, 
and other articles, ))ut not one single thing was disturbed by even 
so little as a hair's Ijreadth. The clothes (^f the girls were torn to 
shreds. 

W^hile visiting Mrs. Gi'ose on Nov. 21. 1913, she Iji'ought me the 
family Bible which was sent over the fields a great distance and 
later recovered. This book sustained scarcely any damage, but 
another smaller book, entitled "The School and the Schoolmaster," 
by Alonzo Potter, ]>ul)lished by Har])er and Brother in 1844. was 
so covered with rand that its contents were nearly obliterated, and to 
this day the mud sticks just as closely as it did the hoiu- it was 
recovered. A churn was blown five miles. In the Preston house 
stood a stove. Its top was taken off as smoothly as though removed 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 379 

by a cold cMsel aud scut half a mile away. A crock, too, was scut 
alouy for company aud it was uot cracked. 

Au irou kettle which Mrs. Grose owns still was thrown into the 
well and into it was hurled a flatiron, yet the kettle was not 
scratched. 

Between the Preston h(»use aud barn stood a straw hog house. 
When tlie storm had passed it was discovered that uot one straw 
seemed to have been disturbed. The cattle and horses all were 
driven away, but the horses all I'eturued aud the cattle were found 
subsecjueutly and brought back iKnue. 

One incredible incident occurred on the Prestou place which 
has been vouched for by many who saw it. A corn stalk was driven 
clear through one of the boards of the wagon bed. Chickens were 
plucked of their feathers and the next morning the poor things 
were running wildly about the place until relieved of their suffer- 
ings by shooting. 

At the Daniel Frost place next in its path, little damage was 
done. At the Martin Wright i)lace the tornado did some very 
freakish antics. Every bit of the house was demolished with the 
exception of one pai't of one wall. On a couch against this wall 
Mrs. Wright, an invalid, had been lying. While her sister sustained 
fearful lu'uises, including a l)r()kcu jaAv, Mrs. Wright was not dis- 
turbed. 

The storm just grazed the village of Lee Center. From this 
point it veered northeasterly aud caught the barn of Cyreno Saw- 
3^er and killed a horse. On the John Lane place on the Franklin 
Grove road, not far from Lee Center, the premises were leveled off 
as smoothly as a floor after a sweeping. 

Then crossing over still further to the northeast, the Colton 
place was struck. The house was demolished and Nettie Colton, a 
beautiful young girl in her eai'ly teens, was killed instantly. Her 
older sister, in her night I'olie, ci'ossed the flelds to the house of her 
uncle, Cephas Clapp, for help. 

The Woodruff' place was the last to suft'er in those parts ; l)ut uot 
extensively. The loss was slight although the inmates of the house 
were shaken badly. Returning to an easterly course, the storm 
swept over the swamps and by reason of the lack of houses, no 
damage was done until it entered the town of Willow Creek. In 
that town it was very destructive and a detailed account of it will 
be found in that part of the book refei'ring to Willow Creek town- 
ship. 



380 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

111 Lee Center the cliurelies were moved from their founda- 
tions, l:)ut it remained for the siil).seqneiit storm of 1862 to complete 
the work of destruction of the church property. In that year a 
cyclone destroyed the Methodist Episcopal church and played as 
many fantastic tricks with stoves and other articles as the one of 
'60 did at the Preston house. Aside from this damag'e, however, 
no serious damage was done around Lee Center. 

In the storm of '60 everything struck by the cyclone was 
plastered with mud; the Preston baliy was covered in a manner 
almost to defy human skill in the efforts made to remove it. 

Mrs. Grose said the storm roared very like the passing of a 
train of cars at lightning si>eed. The day had been excessively hot 
and the air was humid. The destro.yiug cloud was inky black and 
as I have stated, it seemed to Mrs. Preston as though no more than 
one minute at the very outside was consumed in its passage from 
the Gage house to its flight across the swamps. 

Though third in point of settlement, Inlet early took on an 
importance second only to Dixon's Ferry, and although the lady 
did not settle in Inlet when fii'st introduced to Lee couiit3% a Lee 
Center lady came into the county in 1832. 

Mrs. S. W. Phelps, starting from New York city, came via the 
Kellogg trail from Springfleld in 1832 and her letter describing 
that journey, found in the- section of this history which concerns 
trails, will be read with consuming interest. 

In 1852, twenty years after, she came to Lee Center to live. 

Prom the most reliable sources at hand, I am led to believe that 
Mr. and Mrs. Adolphus Bliss became the first permanent settlers of 
Lee Center township. They reached this township in May, 1834. 
Mrs. Bliss was the first white woman to come to the township and 
the second white woman to settle in Lee county. The family lived 
in their new home about a year before a neighbor came to settle 
near them, the Dixons being their nearest neighbors. Not far from 
their home two hundred Indians were encamped, waiting for their 
pay under recent treaties. John Fosdick was the blacksmith 
employed by the Government to mend their guns. These Indians 
must have remained some time for their money because when later 
Mrs. Ira Brewer and Mrs. Lewis Clapp had moved in, both testified 
to some quiet scares sustained from the Indians. In the ease of 
Mrs. Clapp, she was frying douglmuts when several Indians walked 
unceremoniously into the kitchen and ranged themselves around 
the wall. Then the leader or chief relieved her of her doughnuts. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ■ 381 

Prom well authenticated authorities, I have fouud the follow- 
ing settlers to have reached Inlet in the tV>llowing years. iSouie of 
them may have settled just outside of Lee Center township, but 
they were regarded as Lee Center people. 

Volney Bliss came with his people in 1834. His father, Adol- 
phus, took up for claims the west half of the southwest quarter of 
section four and the northeast quarter of section 9, in Lee Center 
township. Charles P. lugalls settled in the southern part of the 
township in 1836. Sherman Shaw, who drove from ISTew York 
state all the way to Inlet with two pigs as part of his worldly 
possessions, reached Iidet in 1837. Moses Crombie came in 1837 ; 
Cyrenus Sawyer, 1835 ; Joseph Sawyer, 1835 ; Ira W. Lewis, 1842 ; 
Warren D. Clink, 1841 : Orrin M. Lewis, 1847 ; Ephraim Whitney, 
1845 ; Joseph A. Hodges, 1845 ; Edwin Morey, 1847 ; Willard Sals- 
bury, 1847; Thomas Nicholson, 1848; John Wedlock, 1848. 

Several families moved into the Inlet district in 1835-36 and 37. 
Besides ]Mr. and JNIrs. I^ewis Clapp and Mr. and Mrs. Ira Brewer, 
I find the names of John Fosdick, the David Tripp family, Sher- 
man Shaw, C. R. Dewey and Orange Webster ; in 1837 ^Ir. Birdsall 
and his sons-in-law, Luke Hitchcock and Oscar F. Ayres, all of 
whom stopped at the Tripp house. The Tripp house seems to have 
been a popular tavern because so many stopped with him. 

Dr. E. F. Adams, the first physician, arrived in 1837, and he 
was made welcome. 

Roswell Streeter made a claim in Lee Center, but he did not 
settle on it until the following year when he moved his family out 
from Allegany coimty. New York. This man's claim included 
the sjjot upon which Lee Center ^-illage now stands. These with 
a Doctor Hubbard, a Doctor Welch, Dr. Charles Gardner, Charles 
Ingalls, C. F. Ingalls, Dr. Ephraim Ingalls, C. L. Sawyer, Rev- 
ei-end DeWolf (who stopped at the Tri})p house). Miss Ann Cham- 
berlin, Otis Timothy, were among the munber who settled thus 
early in Lee Center township. 

Inlet comprised everything clear through to the western and 
southern eoimty lines. In Inlet and Lee Center the abolition 
movement in Lee county had its origin. In the fall of 1846, the 
first abolition society was formed in the log schoolhouse one mile 
west of Lee Center. John Cross, a Congregational minister and a 
man who boasted of keeping an underground station for the assist- 
ance of negroes into Canada, issued a call t(^ meet in that school- 
house for the piu'pose of forming an abolition society. 



382 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Owen Love joy was present and made a rousing speech. A Free 
Soil club was organized of which Russel Linn was made president. 
Among the members of the society who were present then were: 
Martin Wright, Lewis Clapp, Sylvester Frisbee, Ransom Barnes, 
Joseph Farwell, Bononi Hannon, Daniel Frost, Ira Brewer, Moses 
Crombie and John Cross. 

So, too, the first temperance society was a I^ee Center product. 
Joseph Gardner was its president and President Francis Leonard 
of the Academy made an address at its first meeting. Among the 
members were Doctor Wasson; Rev. Charles Cross, Doctor Welch, 
Rev. John Ingersoll, Rev. ]juke Hitchcock, Rev. Erastus DeWolf, 
Rev. George Benton, Reverend Fisk, H. H. Andrews. (Last two 
from Dixon.) These gentlemen all addressed the meeting. Other 
members present were Charles F. Ingalls, Joseph Lewis, Bernard 
Whitney, Betsey Hale, Caroline Whitney, Miranda Strickland, 
N. Peterson, Warren Henry Badger, Michael Henry Blooker, John 
C. Church, William S. Frost, O. W. Clapp, Ciyrus Bridgeman, 
Ransom Barnes, Lyman Wheat. At some of their meetings Deacon 
Joseph Farwell led tlie singing with his violin. On one Sunday a 
temperance tune was struck up to the tune of Old Dan Tucker. 
The minister remonstrated mildly, but the tune went to a finish. 

The name of this temperance society was the Washington Tem- 
perance Society of Palestine Grove and its first meeting was held 
in the Wasson schooUiouse, September, 1847. Some four hundred 
signed the ])ledge, tlic first being Charlotte Doan and the last one 
Chester Badger. 

As an educational center, Lee Center is entitled to more than 
passing notice and connnent. For many yeai's the village of Lefl 
Center was the l)est known community in the county and students 
from every section of the country attended the Academy there. 

In respect of education, Lee Center was staffed right. Almost 
every one of the early settlers, beginning with Inlet, were from 
New England and had received more than a casual education. 
Many were teachers and it is astonishing to notice the mnnbers of 
physicians and ministers who gravitated to that place. Xaturally 
their first thought was of education for their children. 

So early as ISol), a school was opened in the Adolpluis Bliss 
house, one room serving the pur])ose. A room in Tripp's tavern 
also was used. Miss Ann ( 'liambei'lain taught the same during the 
summer of 1836 and thus became the first teacher in Lee Centei- 
township. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 383 

lu 1837, 1 believe, the first school building was built of logs ; its 
cracks were chinked with mud ; the floor was laid with sj^lit logs. A 
fireplace with chimney made on the outside, of rough stones, fui'- 
uished heat when the weather demanded a fire. Split logs or 
puncheons were made into seats ; a desk for the teacher was con- 
structed after the same pattern as the seats. The building was 
built in the edge of the timl^er, not far from Mr. Bliss's house. A 
hazel thicket on the Bliss place screened it oft' from the road 
effectualh^ Over the creek which had to be crossed by some, there 
was no bridge, and those pupils who came from the opposite side 
took off their shoes and stockings, and fording the stream, resumed 
the shoes and pushed forward to school. Ira Brewer helped to 
build this log school. 

For three months in the winter of 1837-38, Mr. Otis Timothy 
taught in this school. Afterwards George E. Haskell, who came to 
Inlet early, taught in that scluxdhouse and a most satisfactory 
teacher he proved to he. Mr. Timothy's salary was $15 per month 
and he was boarded round. During his stay he had twenty or 
twenty-five pupils. A. (f. Streeter was one of his pupils, a gentle- 
man of national renown sulisequently, having been a prominent 
candidate for President of the United States.' 

One of Mr. Haskell's methods for securing efficiency was to 
offer 50 cents to the pupil who left off head most times in a term. 

By the year 1813 there were several schools around Inlet. In 
one of those Mrs. Sallie P. Stark, or Starks, taught five boys and 
five girls ranging in age from the lisping child to the yoiing person 
of twenty or a little more perhaps. This teacher taught twelve 
hours per day and the year round, I am told. 

In the year 1844, by reason of the manner of terrorizing the 
people of Inlet l)y the l^anditti, most of the settlers moved over to 
Lee Center as stated already. 

At that time a school for higher education was demanded, and 
once the agitation was begun, it was characteristic of the people to 
go ahead with it. The subject w^as not permitted to slumber for an 
instant, and nothing arrested the progress of the scheme until the 
Lee Center Union Academy, ))ell and all, became a reality. 

With the year 1846, the project had assumed a definite shape. 
A])out that time Moses Crombie moved into Lee Center. He was 
a carpenter by trade, and he conti'acted to do all the carpenter 
work in and al^out the building. 

According to the memory of Mr. All:)ert Z. Bodine, which is 
verv accurate, Messrs. Bui'i'oughs aiid Bidl of Dixon did the brick 



384 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

work and very soon a brick exterior academy was completed, the 
brick being made from clay found near by and burned near the 
building. 

In the year 1853, a stone addition was made to it, during the 
administration of Simeon Wright, principal, a noted educator who 
begun his work in 1853. He came west from Battle Creek, Michigan. 

The first i^rincipal of this famous old school was Hiram Mc- 
Chesnej^ Seven trustees and five special directors directed its 
affairs. 

Lee Center immediatel}' tocjk on a great rejjutatiou. Students 
from all over the country came here to attend. Parents who came 
along to settle their children comfortably, were astonished to find 
such an institution nestling snugly among the pretty homes, most 
of them still standing, and to find such a cultured people. 

Oh! Those were glorious days in old Lee Center. Lyceums, 
lectures, traveling troupes giving entertainments in the chapel, 
entertained the residents and the students. The debates in those 
famous old days were fought out with all the industry of a con- 
temporaneous session of Congi-ess. Societies then, as now in 
university towns, switched the students into little cliques. And 
what a melody of nOise they made on every special function or 
society victory! The big university town today is not a whit 
different from old Lee Center in its palmy days. For fifteen lively 
and happ)' years at least, Lee Center occupied the most important 
place in Lee coimty history. College life entered into the routine 
of every Lee Center famil3^ But with the coming of the railroads 
and their town-building influences all around, Lee Center declined 
in a worldly way, liut unto this day, its people i^ossessing great 
I'iches in moneys and in the better parts of human accomplish- 
ments, proud as Lucifer, stand as proud of the Lee Center of today 
as their ancestors were proud of old Lee Center. It is ttxlay a 
bcautifid little place ; its old homes, beautifully kept, lend glamour 
and romance. But look at the W'ellman, Shaw, Haskell and other 
homes, tidily kept, and the visitor will retire with sentiments I 
have endeavored to describe. 

During last September, one of the most beautiful buildings of 
the county, erected through the generous boimty of Mrs. Abigail L. 
Haskell, widow of the Ceorge E. Haskell of 1810, was dedicated 
and Mrs. Haskell at ninety- three attended the ceremonies. Above, 
the Odd Fellows have their lodge rooms and banquet hall. In the 
basement the kitchens are located. The ground floor contains a 
couunodious storeroom. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 385 

The ful'iiiture of walnut is designed after the hitest patterns. 
Tlie decorations of blue and gold present the most substantial as 
well as the most gorgeous lodge rooms in Lee county. 

Hand in hand with the college life of the old days, interest 
centered in church life in old Lee Center, and it is safe to say, in 
no other community did church life hold such general and generous 
sway as there. 

Peter Cartwright preached the first sermon at Inlet at C. R. 
Dewey's house in the spring of 1836. During the same yeai'. in the 
summer, the first ^letlKjdist class was organized with John Eosdick 
leader. Mr. David Tripp Avho settled there in 1837, was the tirst 
Baptist to settle in Inlet, and a man named Heyler and another 
named Tourtillott settled there and preached occasionally in tlie 
Tripp house. This same Tripp was Lee county's first collector. 

When Mr. Tripp built his new barn, a protracted meeting was 
held in it and a number of converts were secured. The fii'st Baptist 
church was organized at about that same time and services were 
held in the Tripp house until the schoolhouse was erected near the 
Dewey mill on the bank of the creek in the northeast quarter of 
section 9, when church services were held in it. The circuit rider 
who held services there was a young married man named Smith. 
His circuit trips east and west from Inlet took generally two weeks 
and while at Inlet he stopped always at Mr. C. R. Dewey's. There 
one day he was taken ill and in a few days he died, and his was 
the first funeral at Inlet, in 1837. Luke Hitchcock filled the pulpit 
at the time for the Methodists, and he preached the funeral sermon 
for the unfortunate young JNIr. Smith. That was the first funeral 
sermon preached in Lee Center. 

Considering the privations and the meagre emolument for the 
preacher in those days, it is astonishing that so man}' of Inlet's 
first settlers were preachers. When Mr. Birdsall came there in 
1837 and took up his quarters at Mi'. Tripp's house, his two sons- 
in-law, Luke Hitchcock and Oscar P. Ayres, came with him, both 
Methodist preachers. 

The circuit rider always made Inlet. It was customary in those 
days to receive notice that the preacher woidd arrive in a neighbor- 
hood about a certain time. His entertainment was provided for 
first and then the word was passed from settler to settler to be 
present. Invariabl}^ the preacher had a good congregation. Many 
times he slejit on a clay floor of a log cabin. The winds may have 
wliistled through between the unchinked logs and through the 
windows which at best were glazed with cotton cloth. 



386 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Buttermilk may have constituted the drink and most of the 
victuals, in many instances, but with such men as Peter Cartwright 
victual and drink and sleeping apartment made little difference; 
they were one and the same. The old circuit riders were all alike 
in standing up under the most rigorous life. 

Newspapers were generally a month old by the time they 
reached Inlet; books were scarce and the Bible generally consti- 
tuted the most valued member of every library. 

Three pretty churches have been built in Lee Center, the suc- 
cessor of Inlet, the Methodist, the Congregational and the Episco- 
pal. For a time, in the morning, the Congregationalists held 
services and a Sunday school; in the afternoon, the Episcopalians 
held their services and in the evening the Methodists. In the Con- 
gregational church, Deacons Crombie and Barnes took up the col- 
lection ; at the Episcopal services. Dr. Charles Gardner and Carrett 
La Forge. At each service, nearly the same congregation attended, 
thus giving to Lee Center a religious influence and character which 
is present today. So much for a proper influence in the beginning 
of things in a community. 

The Congregational society was organized at the home of Moses 
Crombie and was called the "Congregational Church of Palestine 
Grove." Afterwards and until Ibi-lO, services were conducted in 
the Wasson schoolhouse, after which date they were removed to 
Lee Center. 

For some time l)ef(>re the Lee Center churches were built, 
church services were held in the academy, the people coming over 
from Palestine Grove to join. Here are some of the names of a 
congregation preserved to us from the correspondence of one of the 
worshippers, Mrs. James Crumble : Mr. and Mi's. James Farwell. 
Mr. and Mrs. John C. Church, Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Davis, Miss 
Mary Barnes, C'harles Hitchcock, Dr. and Mrs. R. F. Adams, 
Dr. and Mrs. Ingalls, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Cla])]), Deacon Barnes 
and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Moses Crombie, Lyman Wheat, Josephine 
and George, Mr. and Mrs. Swartwout, Abram and Nelson, Mr. and 
Mrs. Bradford Church, iNIr. and Mrs. Charles Frisbee, INIartin 
Wright and Helen, Rev. James Brewer, principal of the Academy, 
Miss Harriet Rewey, the i)i'imary teacher, Da\T.d Smith and two 
daughters, Mrs. Bourne and jNIrs. Saucer, Mrs. Lee Clapp and 
Alice, Mr. and Mrs. Jact>b Bodine. Albert Z. Bodine, Ira Brewer, 
l^ncle Elisha Pratt and Sarah. 'S(|uire Haskell, John Waruick, 
Sabra, and Mrs. John Croml)ic. Tlic i)astor was Rev. S.W.Phelps, 
and it was his first pastorate. Mi'. Brewer pitched the tunes: John 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 387 

Wetherbee, the Misses Barnes, Mrs. Henry Frisbee and Mrs. 
Martin Wright composed the choir. Among the many old Lee 
Center folks who spread sunshine over the community were Uncle 
Russel Linn, LTncle Dan Frost with their life companions. Aunt 
Abbie and Aunt Eulalia, Mrs. Birdsall, her daughter, Mrs. Luke 
Hitchcock, Mrs. Warnick, Mrs. John H. Gardner and so many 
quiet, beautiful, heroic women, yet so deferentially unobtrusive that 
their names with their beautif id lives slipped away so tenderly that 
time has permitted them to remain undisturbed even by the raitli- 
less historian who grubs and digs into graves and garrets indis- 
criminately. 

But old Lee Center had its troubles as well as its joys. It seemed 
as if Inlet was annoyed more than any other community by the 
terror of the prairies, the Ijanditti of the prairie. Claim jumpers 
too made life miserable for some of the pioneer settlers until in 
eonunon with every other conmiunity, its honest members were 
compelled to Innd themselves together by not only moral and 
physical ties, but by written indentures. Here is a copy of the 
Inlet document: 

"Inlet, Ogle Co., 111., July 10, 1837. 

"The encouragement which Congress gave to the pioneers of 
this country stinndated the present inhabitants to sacrifice prop- 
erty and ease and commence a long and fatiguing journey in order 
to better themselves and their offspring; not only the fatigue of a 
long and expensive journey, but the privations to which they were 
exposed in consequence of the scarcity of the comforts of life and 
the exposure to the inclemency of the weather in an open log cabin. 
Ever_ything considered, we think it no more than right, just and 
honorable that each man should hold a reasonable claim, and at the 
land sales ol^tain his lands at Congress price. 

"Therefore, We, the sul)scril)ers. feel willing to come under any 
rules and regulations that are warranted by honor and principle 
in regard to our honest claims. 

"Therefore, We establish a few rules and regulations whereby 
we may l)e governed by principles of equity." 

Seven articles follow and the sigiiati;res. 

These rules were adopted July 10, 1837, after having been 
drafted by the conunittee composed of George E. Haskell, Benja- 
min Whitaker, Joseph Sawyer, Lewis Clapp and Martin Wright. 

At the public sales of land, the Government required the cash, 
$1.25 per acre. One class of sharpers had invented the scheme of 
pretending to bid w^hen the land was offered, so that he might be 



388 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

bought ulf ; but this was soon spoiled by one settler for each neigh- 
borhood standing near by, and where a piece of land, "claimed" by 
an actual settler, was offered to cry out, "settler!" With the sen- 
timent of the home-seekers around lum running strongly against 
the speculatoi', but one or two instances were enough to stop that 
means of trying to extort from poor settlers slight bonuses to pre- 
vent bidding. Physical force was used to stop it and when resorted 
to the officers of the law were conveniently absent. 

AVheu Mr, Haskell came to Inlet, he bought the "grout" build- 
ing belonging to Mr. David Tripp and moving it nearer to the east 
bank of Inlet creek, he opened the first store at Inlet. As Mr. 
Haskell was the first postmaster of Inlet, that building was used 
as the postofiice. 8ubse(|uently it was moved to Lee Center. At 
first Mr. Llaskell lived in a log cabin; subsequently he erected a 
frame building. He, with Lewis Clapp was known always to have 
ready money at hand and so when it was "tipped off " to Fox of the 
banditti that Mr. Haskell had the money secreted in a trunk under 
his bed Fox planned to get it. 

These desperadoes terrorized the whole country until 1841, 
when the enraged community covering territory from Rockford to 
Inlet and Dixon, led out the Driscolls over in Ogle county and shot 
them to death. Civilization triumphed by the same means 
employed by the bandits. Courts and penitentiaries had no terrors 
for the bandits. Their fiiends and sympathizers were so numer- 
ous and so strongly were they intrenched that a jury could not be 
found in some coimties to render a conviction. In one instance a 
jail was burned in order to facilitate the escape of a member of the 
gang. 

Inlet was about twelve miles from Dixon. It was one of the 
important points in the state for years and the Inlet ladies went 
to Dixon to shop when one or more item of finery was demanded. 
But with the birth of Lee Center, that in'^tentious ])la(-e liad 
fineries of its own to sell, even to a millinery st(»re. Miss Mary 
Barnes who had learned something of the milliner's art in LaSalle, 
did lionnet trimming. 

AMien the Illinois Central railrojul waiitt'd to enter Lee Center, 
that ]ir(isp('i-ons little ])l;i('(' may liave l)een somewhat proud and 
unyielding in lier notions of ])rosperity and the possibility of its 
disa])]>eai-an('e was considered pi'ciiosterous. Railroads were new 
and untried and might not be worth to a conununity half so nuich 
as an academy. Perhaps that inasnmch as the stage coach had 
been good enoiigli to sei've them in the ]iast. the ncAV rail invention 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 389 

might not be able tu supplaut it. At all events the raili'oad took 
all the business to Anibo_y and in the face of the life which at once 
ajDpeared in Ainboy, Lee Center could not stand. Tor nearly fifty 
years Lee Center, so far as business was concerned, lay dormant. 

At various times efforts to interest another raili'oad have failed. 
Under the direction of Mr. George H. T. Shaw, an electric line was 
partially graded between Dixon and Lee Center; but by a cruel 
stroke of fate, a death and the consequent failure to respond in 
money to the needs of the road, ciit its career short and the grade 
and the project were abandoned. 

LTndaunted by failures however. Elijah L. King, Andrew Asch- 
enbrenner, Reinhai't Aschenbrenner and Sherman Shaw, })rovided 
funds and built an electric road between Ainboy and Lee Center and 
equipped it with stock to carry passengers, coal, grain and live 
stock. More than this, these gentlemen extended the road north- 
ward and eastward until it runs now almost to Ashton and with 
the possibility of its going forward to Rochelle in the near future, 
the success of the road seems to be assured. 

Under present management, the farmers along the line can have 
a sidetrack nui into their yards, if they choose and there load grain 
and stock and mdoad coal. It has proved one of the greatest bless- 
ings to the people of Lee Center and Bradford that could possibly 
come to them. 

The progressiveness of the Lee Center people has been evi- 
denced year after year by the splendid hard roads which have been 
built in the township and toda}^ Lee Center has the best system of 
hard roads of any townshiji in Lee county. 

The same powei' which furnishes electricity for the road, fur- 
nishes light for the village and for the farmers along the line. 

Lee Center is a beautiful place; its homes are suggestive of 
comfort and contentment. The township is iidiabited by the same 
class of sturdy people which settled there in the early days. It is 
doubtful if there is a richer farm community than Lee Center. 
Its people always have enjoyed the distinction of being what we 
term rich in property. At the time of his death, Lewis Clapp was 
the richest man in the county. This township has furnished Lee 
county with many of its most important officers l;)eginning with 
George E. Ilaskdl, who was elected clerk of the circuit conrt and 
recorder. Charles F. Lynn was made sheriff. 

Ijands in Lee Center now range in price from one lumdred and 
eighty-five dollars to two Imndred and fifty dollars per acre. Some 
of the large land holders are Sherman Shaw, a son of one of Lee 



390 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Center's oldest aud Ijest piuneei's, James M. Shaw, who iu turu 
was bom at Inlet in 1838. 

Instead of the log cabin, unehiueked aud floorless, doorless and 
windowless, there are everywhere beautiful homes, heated by steam 
and hot water and hot air. Sanitary plumbing is installed. With 
the prevalence of electric ])ol('s over the county, which may be 
tapped at any place, those houses are lighted with electricity. 

It may be true that in the south cud of the townshii) the land 
is more or less sandy, but the quantity and extent may be said to 
be so small as to fail to affect the average values in the township. 

The early markets for Lee Center were the same for other towns, 
Chicago and the towns along the canal. Ox teams prevailed, 
though of course teams were used by some for freight transporta- 
tion. A week was consumed to make the trip from Lee Center to 
Chicago and return, with a horse team; with an ox team, two days 
longer were required. 

Farmers haiding their grain from Lee Center and vicinity, 
jilauned to reach the Desplaines river by evening of the third day. 
The next day they drove to Chicago, sold their grain and got back 
to the Desplaines river that evening, thus spending two consecu- 
tive evenings or nights at that point. The old hotel stands today 
telling its story in memories which every old settler carried to his 
grave. It is a long low l)uilding near the west bank of the Des- 
plaines and on the north side of the tracks of the Chicago and 
Northwestern Railroad Company. It is seen easily just west of 
River Forest. 

When the wagon got stuck in a sl()Ugh, it was customary to 
imload the cargo, carry it to high ground, pull out the wagou. 
reload, and without di-yiug one's clothing soaked with water, to 
pursue the journey unconqjlainingly. 

Peru was nearer and after a while became jiopular because less 
time was consumed. 

Of coui'se there was moiv o])poi'tunity for company along the 
Chicago Stage road which runs today diagonally across the county 
from northwest to the southeast almost as it did then, than was to 
be foiuid along the Peru road, and that circumstance had its influ- 
ences. Beginning with Jan. 1, 1834. the stage ran along the stage 
road through Inlet and at intervals carried the mail f i<im Galena to 
Chicago and back. 

Frequent elf oils were made to rob the stage coaches by the ban- 
ditti, and to rob i)asseugers and the messengers who transported 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 391 

the land office moneys, but uo effort was fruitful of auy degree of 
success, that I am aware of. 

When Col. John Dement was receiver of the United States land 
office, many plots were laid to rob his messengers, but none suc- 
ceeded. Beginning with the year 1840, when he came to Dixon with 
the laud office from Galena, it ever was his haljit to study means to 
thwart the plans of the banditti, and they expressed marvel at the 
vigilance which could defeat them. In those days the Government 
money was sent by Colonel Dement to Peru, from which p(unt it 
was sent by boat to St. Louis. 

How vast was Inlet once ! Three sides of the county were its ))or- 
ders. Now Inlet is a tradition. Lee Center al)sorbed it thrt)Ugh its 
civilizing agencies. Then as though to avenge the grievances of 
poor Inlet, the railroad appeared to the westw^ard and all the glory 
of Lee Center trembled. 

But though its power might dissolve and though its people may 
have been attracted to Amboy and its railroad, Lee Center had been 
built upon foimdations too massive to permit its sturdy super- 
stiaicture to topple. Today there remain of the old families, 
worthy sons and daughters who cauuot be drawn away : Mrs. Mary 
Rebecca Linn-Shaw, widow of James M. Shaw, born in the town- 
ship, a daughter of George Russel Linn; Sherman L. Shaw, her 
son ; Oscar Dewey, son of Corydon R. Dewey, born at Inlet in 1840 ; 
George W. Brewer and Mrs. Brewer, daughter of a Tripp; James 
E. Gray ; W. S. Frost, one of the original stock, and his son, W. S. ; 
Mrs. Will Gray, daughter of Tripp, the tavern keeper east of 
Inlet; Ei'nest Leavens and Mrs. Isaac Wood, descendants of the 
DeWolfs. They remain. Everywhere the influence of old Lee 
Center remains. The pretty little stone office of Doctors Adams 
and Ingalls stands today and is used as a residence. On the site of 
the old academy there has arisen a fine brick school building of 
three rooms, the primary, the intermediate and the high school of 
thirty-six, twenty and fourteen pupils respectively. Presiding 
over these grades are the Misses Grace Starks, Emil}' Williams 
and Alf reda Steinei]\;er. Two hundred and fifty comprise the popu- 
lation. The INIethodist Church is vacant and the Episco])al Church 
has been con^-erted into a Modern Woodmen hall, but the 
Congregational Church is presided over by Rev. Fi-ederick 
Kempster. 

Swan A. Sandberg's Ijlacksmithing and general repair shop is 
a large one and his business includes auti )niobile repairing. Taylor 



392 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

& Co. sell groceries; J. J. Eisenberg sells groceries and George 
Brascl keeps a general store. 

The King Grain Company handles grain, lumber, coal, cement, 
sand, gravel and tiles. A. G. Carlson and J. B. Flatt buy eggs and 
poultry. 

Mr. L. E. Lippineott's orchestra of sixty pieces is an institution. 
The same gentleman also has a photograph studio and job printing 
establishment. 

The telephone exchange is operated l)y Mrs. Lucy LTtley. Prank 
Starks, the contractor, is kept busy all the time. Then too the 
powerhouse, which furnishes light for the village and power for the 
railroad, deserves more than passing mention. The Illinois North- 
ern Utilities Company have contracted to install very soon a power- 
ful generator which will revolutionize the service offered Lee 
Center and Bradford. 

The Modern Woodmen of America have a membership of 140. 
A. P. Jeanblanc is Y. C. ; L. E. Lippincott is W. A. ; Charles N. 
Frost, clerk; Philo L. Berry, banker, and Reinhart Aschenbren- 
ner, P. W. Harck, Jr., and G. W. Puller are trustees. 

There are eight^^-four members of Abigail Lodge of Rebekahs. 
Mrs. Genevieve Prost is N. G. ; Laura A. Bronson, V. G. ; Ada Hen- 
schel, recording secretary; Addie Pomeroy, financial secretary; 
Ada Miller, treasurer, and Eva Miller, chaplain. 

There are sixty members of Lee Center Lodge 146, Ancient Pree 
and Accepted Masons, established in 1856. Prank Kesselring is 
W. M. ; Pred Gross.is S. W. ; Warren Leake, J. W. ; Reinhart Hilli- 
son, S. D. ; P. S. Berry, J. D. ; A. Aschenbrenner, secretary ; John 
C. Smith, treasurer, and J. B. Piatt, tyler. 

Haskell Lodge 1004, Independent Order Odd Pellows, has 
eighty-six members. G. Hasselberg is N. G. ; H. Brunson, V. G. ; 
G. L. Richardson, recording secretary; A. J. Carlson, financial 
secretary; G. P. Miller, treasurer, and George Perry, chaplain; 
F. Kempster is district deputy. 




HASKELL LOIX;h: L O. 0. F. loiu. LEE CENTER 
Dfdicatiuii Sept. in, I'.ii:; 



CHAPTER XXVII 
MARIOX TOWNSHIP 

Although under the title of Marion township, this wealthy 
township can date back to 1854 only. Nevertheless Marion's his- 
tory began with the day when O. W. Kellogg drove across Lee 
county in the year 1825 to make his trail to the lead mines. The 
trail ran through this township and the stages on its successor, the 
Peru and Peoria road, ran through this town until the Illinois 
Central railroad ended forever the usefulness of the stage coach 
in Lee coimty. The Cleaveland toll gate was located on that road 
in this township and the early scenes thrillingiy and truthfully- 
related elsewhere were enacted in this and East Grove townships. 
But because Chicago grew so rapidly and outl)id Peru and Peoria 
and even St. Louis for business, population along this trail did not 
settle so thickly as along the trail called the Chicago road, and 
therefore it is we have heard so little about Marion in the books. 
The first permanent settler whose name I am i\h\e to secure was 
David Welty, who started for the West in the year 1838, from Buf- 
falo, New York, accompanied by Aaron L. Porter, subsequently 
sheriff of this county, and other friends. They rode horses all the 
way. He came west to ])enefit his health. All who came with him 
were robust men and yet he outlived them all. 

He reached Dixon's Ferry and tari'ied until his wife and oldest 
son, John, could join him, which they did the follovdng year. ^Fr. 
and Mrs. Scott, mother and father of Mrs. Welty, came with them. 

In the year 1840 Mr. Welty and the family moved to the land, 
on section 34, he had preempted on Inlet (Creen) river, aftei- 
building a double log house, the doors, sash and flooring for which 
were hauled from Chicago. The floors were covered with brussels 
carpet, the first to come to Lee county and for a considerable 
time were a rare curiosity. The fui-niture was all mahogany and 

Vol. 1—25 

.393 



394 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

black walnut and contrasted strongly against the rough exterior 
of the unhewn logs. But those rugs, those carpets and that ele- 
gant furniture made the most luxurious home in Lee county, and 
after Mrs. Welty had her crying spell out for lonesomeness, she 
enjoyed the West so thoroughly that she never cared to retui'n 
eastward. 

For years this homo was the social center of the whole county 
and it was no imconmion occurrence for neighbors for twenty miles 
around to hitch their teams to attend a social event at the Welty 's. 
The old stages used to drive almost past the Welty door and travel- 
ers used to alight to take a good look at that marvelous home sitting 
alone in the wilderness. For many years there were but three 
houses between Princeton and Dixon, Dad Joe's, another south of 
Palestine Grove and the Welty house. 

Among those who made up the sleighing parties in those days 
were Elias B. Stiles, Col. Silas Nol)le, Major Sterling, father of 
John M. Sterling of today; Aaron L. Porter, "Than" Porter; 
Father Dixon, James P. and Johu, Jr.; Smith Gilbraith; James 
McKenney; Daniel B. McKeuney; Henry McKenney; Lorenzo 
Wood; George Chase; William W. Heaton; Dr. Oliver Everett; 
Paul Gallup; Col. John Dement; P. Maxwell Alexander and one 
McBoel, who was a beautiful performer on the violin and a first 
class artist. 

Later David Welty became probate judge of the county, a very 
prominent citizen and at his death a man of large means. At pres- 
ent his youngest sou, Chai'les F. Welty, who is supervisor of the 
township, owns the same old houie farm and he too is a very 
prominent citizen and a gentleman of large means. 

John Welty, the oldest sou, who went to live in Washington, 
D. C, where he held a fine position in one of the departments, was 
one of the brightest of all the bright young men who were raised 
in the coimty of Lee. For wit and high class humor, it is doubtful 
if any other community could pi'oduce a match for John Welty 
and Charles Stiles, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elias B. Stiles. 

The fathei- of E. H. and Chai'les Brewster, while uot dating his 
entrance into Mari(in so far back as Judge Welty, came at an early 
date. 

Marion has been peculiarly fortunate in its population. While 
not settling uj) so rapidly as other parts of the county, today it is 
filled by beautifully cultivated homes, splendid houses, large red 
barns, fine stock, and contented, happy people. If ever a township 
of land respond(Hl to the efforts of the homebuilder, Marion has 
done so. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY :m 

Settled largely by the sons and daughters of old Ireland, tlie 
Marion of today is one of the best exemplifications of wliat toil, 
honesty and f rngality linked with patience will do. 

Those heroic Irishmen and Irishwomen reached this country 
without money. They yearned for a country which would present 
them with the opportunity to carve a home and a competency for 
their children. The Irish love their families and for those little 
boys and girls which came along to the early Irish of Marion town- 
ship, those parents toiled early and late, often deujdng themselves 
some of the necessities of life in order that the children coming on 
might have homes without the drudgery of wresting them from the 
earth, generous though it was. 

Those parents came here penniless. In the old country, they 
had been ground down by the hand of tyranny. They never had 
been permittecl to secure foi- their efforts enough to sustain life 
even tolerably and about the only way they could reach this land of 
promise Avas to club together, rob themselves of their last pennies 
to send over here one of their nimil)er, who in turn worked for 
wages and who l)y the same process of denial sent every cent of his 
monev back home to bring over another. Thus in time, a neidi- 
borhood was landed and permitted the i)rivilege of working out a 
home. I have in mind one such man. He worked almost slavishly 
as a section hand. Little by little he worked his way westward. 
Every dollar he earned went back to Ii'oland. When at last he felt 
he might be permitted to marry, he added to his long hours of labor 
on the railroad, the l)urdens of a garden to raise from it something 
for the family in order that he might save a few cents more with 
which later he might buy himself a home. That garden was made 
along the right of way of the Illinois Central. After a while the 
farm was bought. But at what a fearful sacrifice of health! From 
3 o'clock in the moi-ning until 10 at inght! But with the home 
always possible and always before him, he cheerfully toiled on and 
(m and today the town of Marion is ])o])ulated with the children of 
those heroic men and women. 

How they loved liberty! And how they loved the country of 
their adoption ! If for a lengthy story of what their love was, you 
will turn to the records of the War Department, there in blood you 
will read what the Irishman of Lee county did for that coinitry of 
his adoption. Read over the Adjutant-General's Illinois re])orts 
and find the names of the men who composed the Thirteenth, the 
Thirty-fourth, the Fortv-sixth, the Seventv-fifth, and vou will see 



396 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

what tlie soils of old Ireland did for the United States and for Lee 
coiinty ! 

Marion township has done for the eanse of religion what no 
other township in Lee county has done. Grlance at the picture here 
of their beautiful church, dedicated last suinuicr, and their par- 
sonage and parish hall and see for yourself. And all were paid for 
by the fanners of that township. Thomas Dwyer, Edward Mor- 
rissey, $1,000 each ; the Lallys, the O 'Malleys. 

ST. MAKY'S catholic church. WALTON 

As you enter this beautiful chui'ch, the attention is attracted 
to a marble tablet, 5x5, to the left, facing west, with the names 
thereon of those who made it possible to build so beautiful a church, 
parsonage and parish hall. 

The community is altogether rural and these contributions ai'e 
nothing short of wonderful. Father Cullen contributed the tablet 
in appreciation of his regard for the unusual work done by the 
congregation. 

Following are the names inscribed on the tablet, of those who 
furnished the funds to erect the church and othei' buildings: 
Edward Morrissey, $1,400 ; Miss Mary A. Leonard, $1,400 ; James 
Cahill and faniily,*$l,100 ; P. D. Fitzpatrick, $1,000 ; Thomas Bwjev 
and mother, $1,000; Patrick Tally, $700; Mary, Michael and A. J. 
O'Malley, $600; Martin Whalen, $575; P. A. Morrissey, $550; 
J. J. Morrissey, $530; James McCoy, $510; James F. Dempsey, 
$505; Mrs. Ann O'Malley, $500; Edward Dempsey, $500; William 
Morrissey, $500; John C. Lally, $400; James McCaffrey, $400; 
Mrs. T. S. Healey, $350; E. J. Tally. $300; P. H. McCaffrey, $300; 
John Leonard, $300 ; P. F. Keane, $300 ; John Lally, $300 ; Thomas 
Y. McKune, $300; Charles and Mary Keane, $300; Miss Rose 
Lyons, $250 ; Thomas and Bridget Morrissey, $200 ; Mrs. Kathryn 
Hoyle, $200; John H. Dempsey, $200; Austin O'Malley, $200; 
Mrs. J. Convoy, $200; Thos. Burke, $150; Rev. T. J. Cullen, $150; 
Mrs. Bridget and Frank Fiim, $13,0; John Blackburn, $125; Owen 
Burns, $125; E. J. O'Malley, $125; Thomas P. Finn, $100; James 
D. Murray, $100; Joseph Ci'ohens, $100; Lawrence Dempsey. Sr.. 
$100; James Cantii'ld, $100; Peter Campbell, $100; James Harvey, 
$100; M. J. Fielding, $100; Thos. ITalligan, $100; Mrs. C. F. Welty, 
$100; .Michael O'.Malley, .+100; Wm. Bhu-kburu, $100; Heiuy and 
Edward Ullrich, $100; John A. Cre(>nwalt. $100; William McCoy, 
$50; Mrs. E. Schmidt, $50; Mrs. tlugh Mc(!uirk, $50; E. H. Jones, 




ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHIHCH. WAl.TuN 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 397 

$50; Sarah McCoy, $50; P. H. JJumpliy, $50; Carl Acker, $50; 
Henry O'Hare, $50; John Finn, $50; August Grohens, $50; Ed- 
ward Campbell, $50 ; Thomas Blackburn, $50 ; B. J. Bushman, $40 ; 
Anton Douvier, $30 ; Charles McCoy, $25 ; Patrick Patterly $25 ; 
George Healy, $25; George Welty, $25; D. T. Fitzpatrick, $25; 
Thomas McCoy, $25 ; Frank McCoy, $25 ; A. M. Head, $25 ; Ber- 
nard Feely, $25; John Dumphy, $25. 

The rectory is 30x34 feet, of red pressed brick, two stories, 
basement and attic, heated ])y hot-air furnace. Water from a 
large tank in the attic is afforded all over the house, and a splendid 
sewage disjoosal system has been supplied. 

The furniture is solid mahogany of the Mission style. Hard- 
wood floors have been laid throughout. The cost was $8,500. 

The church is of the Spanish Mission style, 40x80 feet, with 
belfry. It is made of red pressed brick. The pews, of massive 
dark oak, will hold 346 peoj)le. 

Steam is the heating medium. The altars and communion rail 
are of white marble. Over the sanctuary are ten Roman arches, 
the main ones, over the altars, rest on massive pillars. The vestry 
is of brick and may be used as a chapel. 

The main altar was contril^uted by Miss Maiy Ann Leonard ; 
the Virgin's altar by Patrick, Tliomas, Bridget and John Mor- 
rissey; the St. Joseph's altar by Patrick and John Lally; the 
communion rail by William Morrissey. The contributions by the 
Morrisseys make $3,200. The sanctuary lamp was the gift of 
the Caliill sisters. The large candlesticks were given by Martin 
Whalen; the ostensorimn ])y Mrs. Mary O'Malley; the three mar- 
ble crucifixes for the altars by Mrs. Bridget Finn. 

In 1854 a petition was presented to the board of supervisors, 
to organize a new township out <d' what then composed Amboy and 
Hamilton. The petition was granted and the first town meeting 
was held in April, 1855. 

The first super'\'isoi' was Alfred Wolcott; first assessor was 
Sherman W. Caldwell ; first justices of the peace, Abram Morrison 
and A. S. Phillips ; first town clerk, Simon Djdmian ; first collector, 
David Morrison. 

In 1838 W. H. Blair located on section 24. In 1841 J. C. Haley, 
a native of Pennsylvania, settled there. In 1846 R. Scott, a native 
of Scotland, settled on section 15. 

When the Kinyon road promised to go through Marion town- 
ship, its managers desired the township to bond itself for $50,000 ; 
but the ]Droposition was defeated almost unanimously. But the 



398 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

road was built just the same ; aud largely through the iuflueuee of 
Messrs. McCrystal, Couderman and Jones, the station was located 
about in the center of the township, and it was named Walton, aud 
it is the only station in the township. 

Today, besides the beautiful Catholic church, the parsonage, 
and the parish hall, there is one general store, a blacksmith shop, 
an agricultural implement store and warehouse aud a grain ele- 
vator which does a very large Ijusiucss, the average amount of grain 
being about two hundi'ed thousand Ijushels per annum, shipped 
from the elevator. Marion raises a great deal of live st(jck. 

Some of the biggest men of Lee county in all lines of endeavor 
have come from Marion township. Mr. Hiram A. Brooks, now of 
Dixon, one of the ablest lawyers and one of the l)est trial lawyers 
of the state, was born there and so was his brother and partner, 
Clarence C. Brooks. Charles B. Morrison, at one time United 
States district attorney fur the Chicago district, was raised there. 
Edward and Charles Brewster, two of Dixon's able lawyers, were 
born and raised thei'e. County Judge Robert H. Scott is a Marion 
boy, born and raised there, and son of a pioneer. George O 'Malley, 
the clothing merchant, and Charles E. Slain, of the imdertaking 
establishment of Jones & Slain, are Marion boys. Thus all over 
Lee coimty the boys from INIarion have rendered a good account of 
the stock which made it the lich and populous township that it is. 

Marion has had its ti'agedics of the air aud of the earth. The 
tornado of 1860 passed right through the middle in its eastward 
race through the county. It picked up here and there a few little 
items of lumber, but no damage to speak of was done. In the year 
1912, however, a windstorm came along which blew down the pas- 
senger station, and nearly every other building in Walton. 

In the eai'ly part of January, 1870, an unfortunate tragedy 
occurred which shocked the c< )uutryside. Francis Marion Spangler 
shot and killed one Timothy Keaue. Both were prosperous farm- 
ers and residents of Marion and both were men of high standing 
in the conmiuuity. It seems Keane's cattle broke into Spangler 's 
field. The latter shut them u]i nnd kept them until Keaue came 
over and demanded their release. In anger hot words passed and 
Keane then attempted to drive them away. Spangler then shot and 
killed Keane with a gnu, after whicli he surrendered himself to the 
authorities in Ambo}' and was l)rought to jail. 

This became one of the most famous trials in the history of Lee 
couuty. Leonard Swett of Chicago defended Spangler and after 
a terrific battle, he succeeded in getting an acquittal for liis client. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
MAY TOWNSHIP 

Still sojourning within the eontiues coniprehended in old Inlet 
precinct, we enter the township of May, whose history is preserved 
to US with considerable volume and accuracy. 

The first settlers of May were compelled to go to Inlet to vote 
at the house of Joseph Sawyer, which was the polling place. May 
did not become a separate polling place until the year 1843. 

The first settler was a man named Joseph Bay, who settled on 
section 13. The next settler was Ira Axtel, who settled the same 
year on section 6. So far I have been imable to ascertain the exact 
dates of their settlement, but it was in the early thirties. 

The town was named May in honor of CaxDtain May, an Ameri- 
can officer, who fell in the battle of Palo Alto. 

Of those who came in 1840 were William Dolan, who settled on 
section 14 ; Martin McClowan, J. Moran and John Darcy, who took 
up their claims on 14 and 23. 

In 1843 May was made a separate precinct, and in 1845 the land 
was surveyed by the Government and throwai into market. 

The old Peoria I'oad from Dixon's Ferry went through this 
township, which Joins Marion on the south, and along the same, at 
the residence of Mr. Morrison, a postoffice was established which 
was called May Hill. 

As I have said, May was made an independent voting precinct 
in 1843. In seventeen years, 1860, she had 120 votes, yet May town- 
ship furnished forty-seven men to aid in the suppression of the 
rebellion. Company F, of the Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry, was 
recruited almost exclusively from this little township. 

Patrick Riley, one of May's best citizens, settled in that town- 
ship in the year 1848, on section 23. He was a hard working, frugal 
man and in time he had accmnulated a fortune. In 1860 his health 
began to fail, and. notwithstanding all his efforts to restore it, 
in 1868 he died. Ambitious to do good to less fortimate people, 
who might be assisted by educational advantages, he left 120 acres 

39!:» 



400 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

to be eiijo5''ed by his wife during life, theu Martin McGowan and 
Patrick MeCann in trust for tlie purposes of constructing an acad- 
emy in ]\Iaytown. Tliese trustees sold the 120 acres left them and 
set to work and executed their trust faithfully by beginning its 
construction on a piece of land belonging to the estate, on the old 
Peoria stage road, eight miles from Amboy. The main building 
was 30x48. The L was 16x18 feet and the entire structure was 
twenty feet in height. The school was divided into several com- 
partments. On the first floor were the school rooms, music room, 
parlor, sitting room, dining room and kitchen. On the second floor 
was the chapel, beautifully finished with a vaulted roof. The rest 
of the upper floor was divided into sleeping rooms, occupied by 
pupils who boarded at the academy. The building was surmounted 
by an observatory, from which a splendid view of the surrounding 
country was had. Young ladies alone were received as boarders, 
but boys were received as day scholars. Six sisters of the Benedic- 
tine order taught the various grades in the common branches and 
in addition taught music, drawing, French and German. 

In September, 1880, the academy was dedicated and for a long 
while the school was crowded with pupils. But after about ten 
years of happy successes, the attendance fell oft' until it was con- 
sidered best to abandon it altogether. In 1895 the property was 
sold and the old academy was torn down. 

The advantages to the township were immeasurable and May 
township as an educational center ranked very high. It seems too 
bad that so useful an institution should decline, but then in earthly 
aifairs we must accept the inevitable. Like Lee Center, rivals 
attracted the children. As boys and girls read about the larger 
schools, like children the world over, they felt that the little school 
was not big enough for them and like the old Lee Center school it 
dropped out of existence peacefully and quietly, though leaving 
behind memories never to be effaced by the most vigorous workings 
of time. The spot was beautiful. The teachers were of the very 
highest class and all the conditions were ideal. It does seem too 
bad that idealism cannot fight its way against the intensely prac- 
tical institutions of today. 

The old state railroad, which was graded through May town- 
ship, caught many a ]3oor settlei'. James ]^arcy was one of them. 
He worked on the grade in 1840. for which labor he was ]iaid in 
worthless scrip, issued by a so-called Ijanker of La Salle, named 
A. H. Bongs. Yet in the face of his early adversities, Mr. Darcy 
aeeumTdated a handsome fortune. , 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 40i 

Tliroiigli the machiuations of interested parties, tlie stage road 
was changed and the May Hill postoffice was shifted to the resi- 
dence of Daniel Beard. In 1850 William Dolan laid the matter 
before the then Postmaster-General, and three months afterwards 
the route was changed again and the postoffice restored to its for- 
mer location. A Mr. Hubbard then was appointed postmaster, 
which position he held continuously until the railroad was contin- 
ued into Sublette and the postoffice was removed to that place. 

In the year 1850 the township was organized by Joseph Craw- 
ford, HarA^ey Morgan and Lorenzo Wood, county commissioners. 

For a time. May township people had many good reasons to 
expect the Illinois Central railroad would run through the town. 
In fact, the old grade, made many years before the road was built, 
was made through May township, running southerly past the acad- 
emy. The same grade, to be seen today just outside of Dixon, was 
part of the same survey and fared as the one which was made 
through May. 

The Anti Claim Jumping Association was very strong in May 
township. Its membership extended from May through Amboy 
over into Lee Center and the first call for action, almost, was made 
to its members to redress a wrong done in the township of May. 

A man named Hiram Anderson had made a claim. Anderson 
offended a neighbor, who, rciu-esenting himself to be the owner, in 
turn went to Dixon and sold the claim to Bull, who dealt in claims 
once in a while. Bull it seems, as I get the story from May, also 
drove stage down the old Peoria road. 

When Anderson found that his claim had not only been sold out 
from under him, but that Bull actually had stepped over to the land 
office and entered it from the Government and received his receiv- 
er's receipt, Anderson notified the committee. A meeting of the 
"Palestine Grove Minutemen," as the association was called, met 
in the barn of Mr. Fessenden, over in Sublette, and passed the usual 
set of resolutions demanding its return. 

The entire association nearly, went to Dixon. Most of them 
waited in the timl^er south of town while Chester Badger aiid a 
Mr. Baird went to the Western tavern, where Bull was stopping, 
to demand the return of the claim. Bull was loaded in a wagon 
and started to jail; but explanations followed; Bull conveyed the 
claim to Anderson; the neighbor gave his note for what he got. 
Anderson secured the $1.25 per acre which Bull had paid, and thus 
a bad job was straightened oiit. If it had not been adjusted the 



402 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

angry members would have seized Bull and tliey would have 
secured satisfaction. There was a case, which if sent to the courts, 
never would have been adjusted properly. Besides much money 
in lawyers' fees would have been spent. This committee settled it 
fairly, expeditiously and without expense. Border committees 
generally are needed. 

Religious influences always have had a strong foothold in May. 
Not only was the academy dominated by the refining and enabling 
influences of religion, through the efforts of a noble company of 
Sisters of the Benedictine order, but the laity at large over the 
town actively supported the interest of the church. 

The first schoollK)Use in the township was erected on section 3 
and for a time it was used by the Catholic church for its services. 
A short time after the war, the German Catholics built a church on 
the east side of the township, which was named St. Mary's. At 
about the same time the Irish members of the Catholic church built 
a church on the west side of the township, which cost approxi- 
mately nine thousand dollars. It surpassed any church building 
in that part of the county for many years. 

Subsequently, however, the ])uildiug of the beautiful Catholic 
church at Sublette, by all odds the most beautiful and costly church 
in Lee county, drew to it most of the May Germans and the May 
church was permitted to remain unoccuiDied. The west side church 
has prospered almost phenomenally. A parish house for fairs and 
entertainments and a handsome parsonage have been added. As 
though to contribute its mite, Nature herself furnishes with almost 
no expense natural gas which is piped to the surface and into the 
buildings and there you Avill find the most beautiful illumination 
to be found in Lee county. Rev. Father Porcella enjoys the love of 
one of the very large parislies of the county. 

The farmers of May generally are men of large means, devoted 
to the best methods of soil culture and to the raising of live stock, 
pure In'ed. In fact Ma.v leads the county in its numbers of fine 
stock raisers. Among those who have very choice herds are 
McLaughlin brothers, James and Charles, who own perhaps the 
best herd of Poland China hogs in Lee county. At the fairs of last 
fall, they took nearly every blue ribbon offered by the manage- 
ments. They also own a splendid herd of shorthorn cattle. Mr. 
Peter J. Streit, the noted Duroc Jersey hog raiser, by the exercise 
of careful selection and judicious mating and pruning, has assem- 
bled what is regarded as one of tlic choicest herds in the state. His 
annual sales are regarded now as famous events in Duroc annals. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 403 

Mr. Streit also lias the best stables of Morgan horses in Northern 
Illinois. Last fall nothing was able to stand before them at the 
fairs. 

William J. Sharkey, James Buckley and Bernard Dorsey also 
have tine herds of the i:)opular Dnroe swine. 

Michael Letfelmau owns a herd of Chester Wliite hogs, which 
for a long while has attracted attention. In strong competition, 
Mr. Leffelman, at the fairs, has taken every one of the blue ribbons. 

One feature of Maytown has been made especially noticeable to 
the writer. For several years the cliiklrcn of James Buckley, espe- 
ciall,y "William, and the children of William J. Sharkey have been 
correspondents for the Weekly Citizen, and in justice to those 
young people, children 1 might say, I must say their letters are 
things of infinite delight to me. Invarial)ly they are filled mtli 
sparkling wit and humor that would bring laughter from a cake of 
ice. JNIaytown children are exceptionally bright youngsters. 

The children of May have given good accounts of themselves 
wherever they have cast their lot. Daniel E. Shanahan, of Chi- 
cago, Representative in the Legislature and the power in republican 
politics for many years, behind the throne, was born and raised in 
old May township. W. J. McGuire, of Peoria, is another worthy 
son of the same toT\Tiship. In polities he has won fame and in busi- 
ness he has won success. Two other young men, lawyers, are 
rapidly going forward to the same splendid goal — James Dorsey 
and John M. Buckley, another son of my old friend, James 
Buckley. 

Normally, May is democratic ; l)ut the voters of May never per- 
mit themselves to be influenced by party affiliations in township 
matters. Mr. Buckley is a republican, yet his democratic neigh- 
bors have elected him siipervisor for years. 

MaytoT\Ti people are hospitable people; notably so. Nobody 
can call at the home of a man from May and leave before he takes 
a meal. I have seen this fact demonstrated so many times that very 
naturally my heart has been drawn towards the people of good old 
May. 

Names of Ma_v's earlier settlers: Joseph Bay; Ira Axtel ; \Vil- 
liam Dolan. one of the most prominent of May's citizens, 1840; 
Martin jNIcClowan, J. j\L)ran and John Darcy, 18-10; Patrick 
McCann, who came with the Illinois Central grade into the county, 
1853; Andrew Kessler, 1850; Joseph G. Hall, 1857; George Ash, 
1857: Silas W. Avery, 1857: Hugh Fitzpatrick, 1857; Michael 
Harvey, 1852. 



404 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

This famous trial was brought once more into the public eye so 
late as the month of November, 1913, when through Attorney John 
P. Devine, the old Keane farm, a beautiful piece of ground, was 
sold in order that it might be divided among the heirs who all these 
years had clung to the old home. Attorne}^ Albert H. Hanneken, 
a special master in chancery, conducted the sale and the land was 
struck off and sold to Philip Keane, one of the heirs, for $122 per 
acre. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

MELUGIN'S GROVE TOWNSHIP Vi'-'^-VA --/ 

The first settlements of this county were made in or on the 
fringe of groves, hence we find Melugin's Grove, Guthrie's Grove, 
Franklin Grove, Inlet Grove, Twin Grove, Paw Paw Grove, Pales- 
tine Grove, Gap Grove, etc., and for that same reason the sections 
of Lee coimty dotted with groves were settled long years before the 
beautiful prairie country which generally offered much better soil. 
The wealth of timber for fuel of course was the first consideration 
of the settler and so the groves were selected. 

The Black Hawk war, which brought thousands of men from 
all over the state to Lee county, then in Jo Daviess county, made 
strong friendships for the locality and for John Dixon. Among 
the number were two men who had much to do with Melugin's 
Grove, Zachariah Melugin and his brother-in-law, John K. 
Robison. 

Through the influence of Mr. Dixon, Zachariah Melugin settled 
at the grove subsequently given his name and that point became the 
second in Lee county to be settled. 

In 1832 Mr. Melugin lived near Springfield. When the Black 
Hawk war broke out he was on Rock island and on the arrival of 
the troops at the mouth of Rock river, he enlisted. The country 
around Dixon's ferr}^ pleased him so well that after settling his 
affairs back at Springfield, he returned to Dixon 's ferry in 1833. 

Believing the new stage road between Galena and Chicago 
would open many possibilities, Mr. Melugin, at the suggestion of 
Mr. Dixon, selected the grove, twenty miles distant, for a stage 
station, and when on Jan. ], 1834, the first stage traveled the route, 
Mr. Melugin took passage and stopped off at the grove and built 
his log cabin on what afterwards became the northeast quarter of 
section 4. The Indians were nmnerous l>ut friendly, and without 
molestation, he kept house all alone the first winter. The long 
evenings were generally spent visiting with the Indians who called. 

405 



406 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

In the spring Ms sister, Mary, came from Sangamon county 
and lived with him imtil Oct. 12, 1834, when, at Ottawa, he was 
married to Mary Ross, of Ross's Grove, DeKalb county. During 
that snnuner of 1834, Miss Melugiu was alone many days, in the 
midst of Indians who dubl^ed her a "bi'ave squaw." The spring 
from which water was procured for the stage house was eighty 
I'ods away in the timber, Ijut never was she annoyed by Indians. 
That spring played an important part in another particular. There 
were no churns, so in order to be busy when going to the spring, 
the emjoty pail was ])alanced on her head while with both hands the 
cream was shaken in a coffee pot imtil the butter "came." 

During this summer Miss Melugiu paid a visit to Mrs. Dixon at 
Dixon's Ferry. There she met John K. Robisou. He too had 
served in the Black Hawk war. from Hancock county, ^ilthough he 
enlisted at the mouth of Rock river, and at the close of the war he 
remained with the Dixon family in the capacity of teacher for the 
children. On Sept. 10, 3835, Miss Melugin and Mr. Robison were 
married at the home of Zachariah Melugin, by the Reverend Har- 
ris, a Methodist circuit lider, and that was the first wedding cere- 
mony performed at Melugin 's Grove. 

Mr. Robison built his house half a mile from Melugin 's, of 
luihewcd logs, chinked with pieces of wood and plastered over with 
a mortar made of clay. The shakes used for a roof were made of 
split trees, the same as the floor. The shelves for pans and dishes 
in this house were made by boring holes in the logs, driving in long 
pins and laying a board across the pins. 

In tliis house the menage was exactly as in every other pioneer 
cabin. The fireplace warmed the room and served for a cooking 
stove; bread was baked in iron kettles with iron covers, the kettle 
being placed in one side of the fireplace and covered with coals and 
hot ashes ; potatoes were roasted also in those same ashes. Goiu'ds 
i:)layed a very prominent part in the array of cooking utensils. 
They were used for baskets, basins, ciips, dippers, soap dishes, etc. 
Hollow trees, sawed, were used foi- well curljs, beehives and storage 
I'eceptacles for housing grain. Troughs hollowed from trees were 
used to contain sugar sap, and during a rain storm they were used 
to catch Avater under the eaves and to store it, and they were used 
for milk pans. Sometimes the troughs were used as cradles to 
i-ock the babies to sleep. Butter bowls, ladles, rolling pins, brooms, 
etc., were made by the husband from wood with implements of the 
rudest sort. So, too, the husband mended his own harness and cob- 
bled the household shoes. In the absence of clocks and watches 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 407 

certain marks on the doors or side of tlie liouse indicated the time 
of day and the position of the Big Dipper indicated the same by 
night. The well or the water trough reflected the features for hair- 
dressing and shaving, and with but one change of clothing for each, 
the same was washed and ironed while the child slept. And such 
indeed was the house and the manner of housekeeping with that 
same John K. and Mrs. Robison. 

Brooms in those days were made from young hickory trees 
about three inches through, peeling off the bark, then with pocket 
knife the men-folks commenced on the end of the stick intended 
for the Itrusli part and peeled the stick in narrow strips or splints 
about a sixteenth of an inch thick and about eighteen inches long. 
The heart of the stick woidd not peel and that was cut off, leaving 
a stick about three inches long in the center of these splints. The 
splints being dropped back over this stick they then commenced 
on the handle end and stripped sj)lints toward those already made, 
and long enough to cover them. When the stick was strijiped, the 
splints w^ere all tied together around the stick left in the center of 
the splints first stripped, and the remainder of the handle was then 
stripped to complete the broom. 

Flint and steel were used to kindle fire, but "borrowing fire" 
when learned, was much more conunon and nuich easier, when 
there were neighbors f I'om whom to lioi'i'ow. 

The nearest grain and live stock market for Melugin was Chi- 
cago and to go and come seldom took less than seven days. In a 
muddy season, the time consumed was more. 

The nearest gristmill then was Green's mill near Ottawa. A 
woolen mill there scutched and carded wool into rolls fit for spin- 
ning back at home b}^ the women. 

John K. Robison brought to the grove from iSTauvoo the first 
currant bushes; he carried them on hoi'se1)ack. The fashion of the 
day was for husband and wife to ride the same horse when they 
went a distance together, the man sitting ahead and the wife behind. 

Mr. Robison was not only the first teacher in Lee county, both 
at Dixon and ]\Ielugin, but he was the first justice of the peace at 
Melugin. He tai;ght school in his own house until the first school- 
house was built, in 1837 ; at that time he had eight pupils. 

The first tailor to locate at IMelugin was Henry Vroman. The 
first postmaster was Abram V. Christeance : he also was first con- 
stable. Charles Morgan and son were the first merchants, and kept 
millinery. Doctor Bissell was the first physician. Cornelius 



408 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Cliristeance was the first white chihl boru, John Mekigiu and W. 
W. Gilmore followed ; all born in the year 1835. 

Church services were held at private houses when the circuit 
rider appeared, until church buildings or schoolhouses were built. 
In the Grove, the first church to be organized was the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in 1837, at the house of Melugin, and the first 
Sundaj^ school to be organized was in 1847 or 1818, b_y Reverend 
Haney of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Zachariah Melugin being from Sangamon county and in the 
Black Hawk war, became intimately acquainted with Abraham 
Lincoln, and when Mr. Melugin returned there, Lincoln visited 
him at his father's home. 

So near as I can learn, A. V. Christeance was the next settler 
here at Melugin. He took a claim in 1835, the month of June, on 
the south side of the stage road and used his house as a tavern. He 
and Mrs. Christeance traveled with an ox team from Schenectady 
county. New York. By the time they reached Melugin, Mrs. Chris- 
teance was so tired she declared she would go no further. That spot 
happened to be the Grove. Their son, Cornelius, born in 1835, was 
the first white child born there. 

Indians were numerous and many times they covered the floor 
of the tavern, sleeping. The prophet, Joe Smith, who seems to have 
been a familiar figure in Lee county history, also stopped there 
upon one occasion. 

Although Mr. Christeance would be gone a week or ten days at 
a time, to market, in Chicago, Mrs. Christeance never was molested 
by Indians nor by members of the "Banditti of the Prairie," who, 
then miknuwu, stopped many times at their tavern. 

John Gilmore came along at about the same time as Mr. Guth- 
rie, in 1831. These gentlemen selected their claims and returned, 
Mr. Gilmore for his family and Mr. Guthrie to settle business 
affairs. j\Ir. Gilmore paid Melugin $50 for part of his claim, the 
northeast quarter of section 3, while Guthrie took up a claim fur- 
ther east, known as Guthrie's Grove and later as Little Melugin 
Grove. 

The trip of the Gilmore familv was almost identical with that 
of the Christeance famil>'. only the Gilmores came west in a wagon 
di-awn by horses. About three miles east from Melugin 's liouse, 
the horses gave out; they could travel no further. It was June 4, 
1835. Mrs. Gilmore and her five children had been riding; Mr. 
Gilmore and Mr. Guthrie had l»cen walking beside the team. Rain 
had been falling steadilv all dav. After a considtation it was 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 409 

decided that Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore and the children should push 
forward to Melugin's house, three miles west. Mr. Guthrie 
remained with the team. Late that night the Melugin house was 
reached by the tired and bedraggled Gilmores. The following day 
help was sent back to Guthrie and he and the team were conveyed 
easily to the Melugin home. Mr. Guthrie too had been a Black 
Hawk soldier. 

Very soon Mr. Gilmore had built a log cabin twelve feet square, 
with a puncheon floor, shakes for a roof, held in place by weight 
poles. A stick-and-uuid lii'eplace was added as well as a door, and 
the Gilmores were permanent, and in this house W. W. Gilmore 
was born Nov. 8, 1835. 

The only work to be had at that time was twenty miles away 
at Ross Grove in Delvalb county and the payment for it was made 
in provisions. To this point then Mr. Gilmore and William Guth- 
rie walked forth and back ; the first of the week eastward to work ; 
Saturday night backward with their wages on their shoulders. 

During one of these absences that winter, near Christmas, the 
mud and stick chinmey took fire and if permitted to run would 
consume the house very soon. In her stocking feet Mrs. Gilmore 
rushed to and from the now frozen spring, twenty rods away, carry- 
ing water ; but she made no headway. The nine-year-old son, A. P. 
Gilmore, was sent a mile distant through the woods, at midnight, 
to the house of Mr. Christeance for help. The fire was put out, but 
the damage to the building had been considerable. That perilous 
night was stormy and bitter cold, l)ut the pioneer woman of Lee 
county feared nothing. 

Later Mr. Gilmore added to his house and opened a tavern and 
stage house. All who did so prosjiered, and Mr. Gilmore was no 
exception to the rule. The Galena-Chicago highway became a 
thoroughfare as important for those days as the great Northwest- 
ern is today for our community. 

In the fall of 1836 William Guthrie was married to Miss Ross 
of Ross Grove, where he had worked most of the Mdnter before. 
Mr. Gilmore made a great event of it for his old friend Guthrie. 
Mr. Gilmore hooked up his best yoke of oxen, took his wife and the 
yoiuiger children, Mr. Guthrie and two lady friends and by con- 
stant urging the oxen made the trip that day. The Rosses were 
great people in those days and ^Ir. Guthrie made a great catch, and 
so that wedding day was made one of the greatest days the town- 
shi]i of Paw Paw in DeKall) county ever saw. 

Troy Grove was a place of consequence those days and it was 
the custom at times to go there for provisions. On one of those 



410 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

trips Mr. Gilmore met a Methodist preaclier named Lmmiieiy. 
Tlie latter was invited to come to Melugin Grove and hold a meet- 
ing. Accordingly in six weeks, the succeeding round of the circuit, 
the preacher came and held services in the Gilmore cabin, which 
every soul at Melugin attended and still there was room to spare. 
A church and a class were organized and ever since that early date 
the church and the class have continued without interruption. 

Among those early settlers was O. P. Johnson, who located at 
the west end of the grove and opened a tavern. He married Eliza- 
beth Ross, one of the historic Ross family of DeKalb county. 

Ezra Berry was another of the 1835 jjioneers to settle at the 
grove. He married jVIiss Elean«)r Melugin, sister of Zachariah. 

Some have said the first schoolhouse was built on the farm of 
Mr. Christeance in 1838, but investigation has proved conclusively 
the year was 1837, and that Zachariah Melugin was the first teacher 
succeeding Mr. Robisou. Mr. Melugin was a man of superior intel- 
lect and ability. So early as the year 1836 or 1837 he composed a 
poem published in the Rock River Register, the first paper pub- 
lished on Rock river. He died in 1812 and his widow married Wil- 
liam Atkinson. 

The first funeral in Brooklyn township, I believe, was that of 
a Mr. Little, a Scotchman, whose body was the first to be buried in 
the cemetery. 

Melugin 's Grove became, for a little place, a place of impor- 
tance. A Masonic lodge was organized at the house of O. P. Jolm- 
son, in 1858, of which John C. Corbus was the first master; John 
Gilmore was the first senior warden; S. H. Finley, first junior 
warden; Jonathan N. Elyde, senior deacon; Oliver P. Johnson, 
junior deacon ; J. R. Bisl^ec, secretary ; William Grithrie, treasurer ; 
and Robert Ritchie, tyler. 

In those halcyon days Judge R. S. Farrand taught school at 
Melugin and it was from Melugin that he came to Dixon to act 
as deputy sheriff under Jonathan N. Hills, elected from Melugin. 
Jonathan N. Hyde was elected clerk of the circuit court from Melu- 
gin ; and Melugin, luider Doctor Corbus and others of the old guard, 
became master of the political game and bossed county politics 
more or less. 

Until 1873 Melugin 's Grove prospered. Then the Kinyon rail- 
road went through Brooklyn township, about a mile to the S(nith, 
and Joel Compton jtlattcd the town of Comptou, a mile away, and 
all the glamour and tradition of the old grove and the stage route 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 411 

and stage coach days disappeared. One Ijy one the Grove people 
moved over to the railroad and Conipton. One )jy one tlie l)uild- 
ings were moved over to Comptou. Love for the old place was 
strong and the ties Avere hard to l»ri'ak, );)ut the last had to give 
wa}', and to this day the entire population of prusx^erous Oomptou 
are descendants of the old Melngin's Grove stock, and so closely 
intermarried that nearly every family is related to ever_y other 
family. The sturdy old times estahlished fortunes which the 
younger ones of today are enjoying. 

Compton today is a bright, wide-awake, l)eantifully huik and 
more beautifully kept little village of about three hundred and 
fifty people. It seems as though every resident of the place owns 
an automoljile. It contains a garage, 80 feet long and 40 feet wide, 
operated by Sam Argraves, a son of one of the old settlers. There 
is scarcely an hour of the day this garage is not filled. There is 
not a town lot but has its cement sidewalk. The Illinois Northern 
Utilities gives it day and night electric light and power service. 

Beautiful homes predominate. It supports one of the best 
hotels in the state, under the management of Mr. Card. The Comp- 
ton Mercantile Company store, owned by Joseph Kaufman, 
Edward A. Bennett and Jolui L. Chip}), is one of the commodious 
stores of the comity. It carries a l)ig stock and transacts an enor- 
mous annual business. 

John Archer, just across the way, enjoys a splendid business. 

W. H. Dishong is the hardware man. H. A. Bernardin has as 
fine a furniture store as you will find outside of a big city. 

The First National Bank enjoys a splendid business. 

But the important enterprise of Compton is the Chandler Hos- 
pital. This institution, Iwilt by a young iDhysieian named I)r. 
A. W. Chandler, has sprung into national fame, and Doctor 
Chandler has become one of the most noted surgeons in the country. 
Patients from the Atlantic to the Pacific have come to the Chandler 
Hospital for treatment. In a little town, with but one railroad, 
Doctor Chandler, by sheer ability, has made himself and his hos- 
pital famous. In his work, Mrs. Chandler has been a tremendous 
help. She is one of the most sui)erior women one can find. When 
in his earlier A^ears it became necessary to have the services of one 
skillfid and helpful enough to administer anesthetics, Mrs. Chand- 
ler stepped into the breach and supplied the Doctor's greatest need. 
As a surgeon's suppoi't and counselor, Mrs. Chandler has no 
supeiior. ]\Iore delightful, intellectual, attractive and compan- 
ionable people than Doctor and Mrs. Chandler are not to be found. 



412 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Recently they purchased in Dixon one of the most beautiful 
homes in Lee county, situated on the bank of Rock river. Here 
during the summer months they delight in entertaining their 
friends. 

Chandler Hospital is one of the big institutions of Lee connty, 
and for successful amelioration of human suifering it outranks any 
institution in the laiid. The institution has a reputation extending 
far and wide. Nothing in Lee county has so extensive a reputation 
and it is douljtful if any other spcjt in northern Illinois is as well 
known. 

Compton and West Brooklyn are splendid grain markets and 
in both places at least 750,000 l)ushels of grain are marketed 
annually. 

When in 1S73 the Kinycm road was built through Brooklyn 
township, the people xotvd to l)ond the town for $50,000 to help 
bnild it. The bonds were issued and sold, and by reason of non-per- 
formance of i)romises made Ijy promoters of the road, payment of 
the bonds was ccmtested for years; but in the end the courts ruled 
for the bonds and, with a compromise, they were paid. 

Between West Brooklyn platted on section 8 and Compton 
platted on section 11 a fierce rivalry existed from the first and only 
until recent years has the old feud died down. Compton was 
platted ])y Joel ( 'om})ton on his farm. West Brooklyn was platted 
by Demas L. Harris, O. P. Johnson and R. N. Woods. Believing 
that the factional warfare would ruin both places, Andrew J. Carn- 
ahan conceived the plan of )>uilding on his farm, the northeast 
c|uarter of section 9, midway ])etween the rivals, another town and 
on Jmie 19, 187.3, he platted Carnahan and built thereon a grain ele- 
vator. But the other two places jn'ospered and survived and after 
serious financial losses, Mr. Carnahan abandoned his plat. The 
big elevator, unused, stands today, a monument to recall the fiercest 
town site fights Avhicli Lee county ever witnessed. The first church, 
Methodist, was organized in 1837 at the house of Zachariah Melu- 
gin and Rev. S. R. Beggs became the first pastor, a circuit rider. 
ITntil al)out the year 1850, church services were held in the school- 
house ; then a church was binlt. Later, in 1860, another building 
was erected and that was moved to Compton, and considerably 
enlarged, is used today. 

The United Brethren occupy the other church. 

There is a Masonic lodge in Compton. 

Mr. John W. Banks, the su])ervisor of Brooklyn, operates the 
only grain elevatoi' in Compton. Tlie place is a famous grain center 




THE STAND I'll'i:, (OMPTOX 




CHAXnr.KK HoSI'ITAL. ((IMPTOX 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 413 

and Ml'. Banks lias marketed as high as 400,000 bushels of grain 
in a year. 

The Chicago, Burlington & Quiiicy is the only road running 
thi'ough Comptou. For a time it Avas exjjected the Chicago, Mil- 
waukee & St. Paul would extend its north and south branch through 
Comptou, but for reasons best known to I'ailroads, it ran a mile to 
the east and established the Roxbury station and built an elevator. 
There are no stoi'es in Roxljury, Avhicli is in Wyoming township, 
but a large aiin»unt of grain which found its way to Comptou 
formerly now is marketed at Roxbury. 

Only recently, Compton installed a complete water and sewer 
system. Its tire protection facilities are as nearly perfect as 
possible. The Yocum telephone system has its central office in 
Compton. 

demons & demons do a fine business in blacksmithing and 
wagon making and general repairing. 

Mr. Harvey A. Cook tells me as high as forty thousand dollars 
has been received by the Chicago, Burlington & Quiney road at 
that station for freight in a year. 

Compton and West Brooklyn are in the midst of one of the best 
of farming sections. Lands run in value about two hundred dollars 
per acre. There is a voting precinct at each place. West Brooklyn 
is heavily democratic, while Compton in largely progressive, with 
republicans and democrats running along close together. When 
Mr. Compton platted this village, he reserved a block of ground for 
park purposes which he planted to trees. In this he erected a 
pagoda and there the Compton ))aiid gives summer concerts. 

The residences are kept up beautifull.y and there are many of 
them. Doctor Carnahan, the venerable first physician of the place, 
still resides at Compton, retired. Back in the dawn of things at 
Melugin Grove he practiced. 

Many retired farmers live there; while others have gone to 
Dixon, others decline to break old home ties, and all of them 
are rich. 



WEST BROOKLYN 
By Oliver L. Gehant 



The village of West Brooklyn was laid out and platted in the 
month of August, 1872, on lauds belonging to Oliver V. Johnson, 



414 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Demas L. Harris and Reuben N. Woods. These three gentlemen 
were large land owners in the west side of Brooklyn township, 
hence the origin of the name, West Brooklyn. 

At the time the present branch of the Chicago, Burlington and 
Quincy railroad was built throngii the township, there seems to 
have existed an agreement between the prominent citizens and land 
owners of the town of Brooklyn tliat the station, which was agreed 
upon with the railroad company was to be located within the town- 
ship as a part of the consideration of $50,000 paid through bonds 
issued by the toAvn in favor of the railroad project. The site of 
the new village was to he at Modoc, commonly called Carnahan 
station, the place being almost, if not exactly, in the center of 
the township, east and west. 

Then, as well as now, officials were sometimes actuated by sel- 
fish motives, and the agreement was disregarded. The railroad 
officials located the stati<:)n on the site that is now occupied by the 
village of Compton in the east end of the township. This action 
was the cause of the founders of West Brooklyn taking the initi- 
ative and planning a village to suit their own ideas. 

Among the first to engage in the mercantile life of West Brook- 
lyn we find H. H. Carnahan, who conducted a general store on the 
corner of Second and Woods streets, in connection with the post- 
office. Hoerner Brotliers, later succeeded by William Hoerner, 
engaged in the general merchandise business on the corner of 
Second and Johnson streets, and A. Nichols & Sons soon followed in 
the same business on the south side of Joluison street, between 
First and Second streets. Dr. (!. F. Schrieber of Chicago, located 
in the new town shortly after its establishment and remained a 
vesident of the village for many years. Daniel Barr was put in 
charge of the grain elevator erected b_y the West Andnis & Co. of 
Chicago, being succeeded after a few years by George McCormick. 
The latter continued in this occu[)ation until about twelve 3'ears 
ago, when C. F. Cluffin, one of the leading business men of the town 
today, took charge of the business. 

Messrs. Albert Bieschke, Sr., and Jose})h Kesel, I)oth of Chi- 
cago, soon established shoe shojis in West Brooklyn. Mr. Kesel 
retired froui business many years ago, Init ]\li'. Bieschke is still in 
the same occupation at the old stand built by him thirty-eight years 
ago. Gruss Brothei's, after a few years, followed and engaged in 
the manufacture of wagons and buggies in connection with their 
general blacksmith shoi>. Tlicy succeeded Thebiay Brothers and 
were in turn succeeded l)v Alartiii (iruss, one of th(> fii'ni. Mrs. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 415 

Cheney was the first to operate a hotel iu the new town, her first 
location being on the corner of First and Water streets. Wesley 
Hyde succeeded Mrs. Cheney, but after conducting the business 
for a time sold out to Mrs. Henry Wigum. She continued in the 
hotel until her death, wdien Mrs. Katie Tressler, her oldest daugh- 
ter, became proprietor, and under her management the place soon 
enjoyed a very good pati'onage. She erected the excellent Hotel 
Tressler, which adorns the c<»ruer of Second and Johnson streets, 
and which is recognized liy the traveling pul)lic as among the best 
equipped hotels in the county. 

Of the early men wdio were identified with the ui)-l)uilding of 
West Brttoklyu, very few are still with us. Albert Bieschke, Sr., 
and JNIartin Clriiss appear to be the only survivors. The foiuiders 
of the village, Messrs. Johnson, Harris and Woods, have long since 
passed away. Dr. G. F. Schrieber removed to Chicago about twenty 
years ago and was succeeded by our very efficient physician and 
surgeon. Dr. E. C. White. He has also served in the capacity of 
postmaster for the past sixteen years. John Cruss, general black- 
smith, returned to Chicago, where he too passed to the Great 
Beyond. Herman Knauer has been in charge of the local shop for 
a number of years and under his management an up-to-date e(iuip- 
ment has been installed and first-class workmanship is turned out. 
H. H. Carnahan discontinued the store thirty years ago and 
removed to Iowa and engaged in farming. 

Messrs. A. Nichols tt Sons disposed of their mercantile inter- 
ests about the same time to Derr Brothers, and then moved to 
Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they engaged in the wholesale 
industry. Derr Brothers quit business at this place some twelve 
years ago. Joseph Kesel, one of the pioneer settlers, is residing at 
Aurora. Daniel Barr died about twenty-five years ago, wdule his 
successor. George McCormick, died five years ago at his home in 
Mendota, where he moved after retiring from the grain business 
here. C. L. Smith, painter and decoratcn- and one of the early set- 
tlers, passed to his reward within the past year. William Hoerner 
sold out his mercantile business twenty years ago and, together 
with his family, moved to Mendota. He was succeeded by Henry 
¥. Geliaut of Yiola township, iu September, 1893. 

From this date a new epoch for West Brooklyn was soon to be 
realized. This young farmer, filled with zeal and ambition to do 
and to dare, began to take the necessary steps to inaugurate a 
movement which Avas intended to ])romote better conditions com- 
mcrciallv and sociallv in this village, which had after neai-ly twenty 



416 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

years existence, less than one hundred and twenty-live inhabitants. 
He established np-to-date business methods at the outset, and the 
best merchandise that money could jjurchase was placed upon Ms 
shelves. A good, live advertising medium, The West BrooldjTi 
News, was founded by him and a new era for the town inaugur- 
ated. Through his energy and untiring efforts the village was 
incorporated under the laws of Illinois, in September, 1894. The 
blind pigs, which had thrived uninterrupted for j^ears, to the annoy- 
ance of the county court and the disgust of the law-abiding citizens 
of the village, were wiped out. The celebrated Richelieu was 
closed and law and order established. From that time West Brook- 
lyn has taken her place in tlie front ranks of the municipalities of 
Lee county. 

Henry F. Gehant was the first mayor of the new incorpora- 
tion, continuing in that capacity for six years. O. P. Johnson was 
the second mayor, serving for two years and was succeeded by 
Henry F. Gehant, who served six years more or twelve years in 
all. F. U. Gehant followed his cousin into the mayor's chair and 
was at the head of village affairs for four years. F. W. Meyer, 
our present mayor, is serving his second year and is the successor 
of Mr. Gehant. At the conclusion of Mr. Meyer's administration, 
West Brooklyn will have been incorporated twenty years. 

In the meantime two grain elevators had lieen erected to care 
for the vast harvests each year in the vicinity. Both original struc- 
tures were burned to the ground, but were rebuilt at once. One 
is owned and operated at the j^resent time by Charles F^. Guffin, 
while the other is owned by the Farmers Elevator Company, a cor- 
poration consisting of the farmers of the vicinity. This corpora- 
tion has a capital of $15,000 and has been in existence since Dec. 
3, 1907. 

The village has a prospei'ous liauking institution known as the 
Henry F. Gehant Banking (Jompauy, founded June 1, 1897, by 
Henry F. Gehant. At that time it boasted a capital of $10,000 and 
deposits of $50,000, Init during its sixteen years of existence has 
developed wonderfully and today its statements show $25,000 cap- 
ital and deposits ranging from $150,000 to $200,000. It not only 
serves the conununitv in a lianking ca})acity, but meets the demand 
in matters of insurance, real estate and farm loans. 

West Brooklyn lias I'casou to feel proud of its city waterworks 
plant, which is owned by the municipalit}^ and which supplies 
water to the entire town by means of a system of water mains 
extending to every part of the village. As a result of the water 






•Sciuili Side ilaiu Street, loukiiig west 




I'ust Office 






Ss 


HHbi^ 


*jxr~"L c- -■■■ 




*•* 



Xorth Side .Tnhiison Street, liiokiiig- west 
\1E\\S OF WKST i!l;()(JlvLYN 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY -ti7 

supply there has developed the West 13rookl_yii Volunteer Fire 
Department, which utilizes the great water facilities at their dis- 
l^t^sal to protect the town against the lire fiend. On several occa- 
sions they have demonstrated their worth and their ability as 
firemen and saved the town from total destruction. Cement side- 
walks and cross walks are to be foinid in every part of the town. 
The remarkable fact concerning all these improvements is that 
the.y have been accomplished without the assistance of a coi'pora- 
tion tax and still the town is without debt. Not until the present 
year has a corporation tax been levied in West Brooklyn. The 
only debt which the people owe is an appreciation to those who 
have handled its affairs for the past twenty years in such an able 
manner and nursed its financial income in such a way as to develop 
the most possible benefits therefrom for the people and municipal- 
ity in general. Their work has been remarkable when taking into 
consideration the small income of a few hundred dollars each year 
with which they had to work. The streets are lighted with elec- 
tricity, this last convenience coming to the village during the past 
year, by granting a franchise to the Illinois Northern Utilities 
Company to enter into the town with its system. 

Perhaps two of the l:)est general stores in Lee county are at 
West Brooklyn. Both have fine stocks and are well kept up by a 
practical management. F. W. Meyer, who is the proprietor of one 
of these establishments, came to this \'illage eleven years ago and 
has been very successful since that time. The other store is con- 
ducted by M. J. Bieschke and although a more I'ecent arrival 
than his competitor, he has proven himself successful. He is a 
member of the village council and has also served his people as 
village clerk. 

Other mercantile establishments in West Brooklyn are two 
hardware and implement stores, a meat market, a restaui'ant, a 
plumbing shop, a barber shop, a drug store in connection with 
Dr. E. C. White's office, a cement Ijlock factory, a tile factory, a 
hotel, two saloons, a blacksmith shop, a shoe shop, a garage, a Imn- 
ber yard, two coal yards, a paint shop, a furniture store, a livery, 
an opera house, a public school, and two churches. 

The schoolhouse was erected in 1874 at a cost of $1,200. This 
structure was removed and replaced liy a more modei'n building 
in 1900. Three teachers are employed and the school has long been 
recognized as one of the best in Lee county. The first church to 
be erected in West Brooklyn was the Methodist, about thirty-three 
years ago. The Catholic Church was built a little later, its congre- 



418 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

gatiou consisting of only a few families, as follows : Francis Gral- 
lisath, Modest and Laurent Geliant, Frank and William Halb- 
maiei', William Hoerner, Xavier Chaon, Joseph Huibscli, Leopold 
and Joseph E. Henry, Delphan and Polite Bresson, Eugene Vin- 
cent, Martin Gruss and Albert Bieschke, Sr. The first church was 
of simple construction, but as the congregation grew and pros- 
pered larger quarters were found necessary. In 1902 they erected 
a splendid church at a cost of $18,000. It was 48x98 feet in size 
and built of brick, with a spire 125 feet high. Just previous to the 
erection of the church a parsonage was built at a cost of several 
thousajid dollars, so that the congregation had expended at least 
twenty-five thousand dollars with the completion of the church 
edifice. In 1908 a disastrous fire swept away the beautiful church, 
but a new and better structure arose in its place, which today 
stands as a monument to a faithful congregation. Its interior 
walls have recently ])een decorated and new altars have been 
installed at a cost of $3,000. The main altar is a donation by the 
local court of Foresters, who presented the pastor. Rev. M. B. 
Krug, with a subscription of $1,000 raised among its members for 
the purpose of purchasing this altar and having it serve as a gift 
of the local court of the society to the church. 

The Catholic Order of F^'oresters is the largest and strongest 
fraternal organization in town, have an up-to-date club room, and 
an active membership, who are always boosting their order, church 
and town. During the ])ast year the court reached the one hundred 
mark in numlK'r of initiations and nearly all of these are still loyal 
F^oresters. The Modern Woodmen of America are the next larg- 
est organization in town. This society have their own meeting 
place but no club rooms. The Knights of Columbus, the Woman's 
Catholic Order of Foresters, the Independent Order of Odd Fel- 
lows, the Ancient Free and Accepted ^lasons, and several other 
societies have many members in West Brooklyn, but none of them 
have a local organization and the members must go to neighboring 
towns to attend meetings and to take an active part in the work of 
their respective orders. 

West Brooklyn is a village of music. Many of its people are 
noted for their musical talents and as a result we find two impor- 
tant organizations having their home in this town. The older of 
the tw(\ Barr's Orchestra, has been recoginzed throughout the 
entire county as the peer of any of its orchestras. During the danc- 
ing season they furnish tlie music for the vast majority of the 
dances and imrties in tlie vieinitv of their home town and are also 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 419 

in great demand in many parts of the county. The younger organ- 
ization, the West Brooklyn Cornet Baud, has perhaps acquired 
fame more recently than their sistei' organization, the orchestra, 
and is without question the best band in Lee county at this time. 
Their work the past season has won this title for them and so popu- 
lar have they become that they now have engagements booked for 
an entire year ahead. Barr's Orchestra has been in existence for 
the past ten years while the band was organized in September, 1908. 

The F. M. Yocum Telephone Company is another great insti- 
tution having its main offices in West Brooklyn. This concern, 
started by the preseut proprietor, F. M. Yocum, is a great aid 
towards the up-l)uilding and convouienco of the eomuiunity and is 
of vast good to the village. 

West Brooklyn has jjeen visited by several fires since its found- 
ing. One of them already' has been given considerable mention in 
telling of the burning of the Catholic Church in 1908. Also the 
elevators, burned previous to this, have been touched upon. It was 
during the fire which destroyed the west end elevator, now the 
Farmers elevator, that the biggest fire and the most destruction 
residted. The creamery occupying the west end of the same block 
was burned during this fire as was likewise a hardware store, a 
meat market, an implement building and several other minor struc- 
tures occupying over one-half of the block. It was only the heroic 
efforts of every man, woman and child in West Brooklyn that 
conquered the fire and prevented the whole of the town from burn- 
ing. It was innnediately after this terrible fire that the Volunteer 
Fire Company was organized. The Pollack department store was 
a later fire but with the efficient work of the fire company was 
prevented from spreading and confined to the interior of the build- 
ing where it had started and where it ruined everything. Many 
minor fires have been recorded, but as they are of little importance 
we will pass them by. Several residences have been afire at dif- 
ferent times and a few have burned to the ground. 

West Brooklyn's population is not large, perhaps an estimate 
of four hundred is too much. However in considering its makeup, 
it measures up to the standard of the medium-sized towns of our 
county and were it to ]>e suddenly wiped away, would be missed 
immensely. It still occupies the territory covered by the original 
plat of the incorporation and has but a single addition to mention. 
We refer to the recent Gehant addition on the S()uth side, which 
was the work of F. D. Gehant, who bought and platted seven acres 
adjoining and fronting upon Berniger street and where he is erect- 



420 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ing the first home, a handsome building, to be occupied by himself 
and his family as soon as completed. Many of the lots have already 
been disposed of to people who will erect residences within the next 
year or two. On this account we can exjject a more rapid growth 
in the number of our population than ever before, for it was not 
due to undesirable conditions at West Brooklyn that the moderate 
gi'owth of the past has been made, but because of the fact that there 
were no lots to be had for the erection of more homes, to permit 
all those who desired, to come here and settle. Taken in this re- 
spect, the new addition is one of the greatest accomplishments 
that has ever been made for the betterment of West Brooklyn. 



CHAPTER XXX 
NACHUSA TOWNSHIP 

Nacliusa and China were together for so long a period as 
China township that t(j treat of Naehnsa alone involves consid- 
erable repetition necessarily. Bnt Nachusa history is worth re- 
peating many times. Her pioneers indeed were the salt of the 
earth and rendered to Lee county services which never grow old 
with the telling, no matter how crndely told. 

Naclmsa township was organized in the year 1871 and it was 
named after the Indian name for Father Dixon. 

On Nov. 10, 1870, Col. Alexander P. Dysart presented to 
the board of supervisors a petition praying that a new town- 
ship be erected. This petition evoked powerful opposition and a 
strong remonstrance was presented to the board by Robert L. 
Irwin of China township (Franklin Grove) against the innova- 
tion. Both petition and remonstrance were laid upon the table 
until the next session of the board, leaving an interim in which to 
plan the battle royal. 

On Tuesday, Feli. 7, 1871, on motion of Supervisor Viele, 
the petition was taken from the table and the board having heard 
and considered carefully both sides of the question, ordered that 
the prayer of the petition be granted, and the township of Nachusa 
was created. Alexander P. Dysart, who presented the petition, 
was a hard man to defeat and he proved his generalship in this 
undertaking by winning handsomely. 

The early and easy settlement of Nachusa may l)e attributed 
to the circumstance of its pi'oximity to Inlet, imperious Inlet, on 
the south and Rock river on the north. Messrs. Bennett and 
Brown from New England Avere the first settlers of this town- 
ship, laying claims in section 14, which now belongs to Dixon 
township b,v a recent fiat of the supervisors. This was in 1835. 

421 



422 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

"Squire" Cyrus Cliambeiiaiu located iu the same year, and iu 
section 19. A Mi-. Eldridge came the same year and settled in 
section 19. So too did a JNIr. Hollingshead, who took up his claim 
in section 19. 

Joseph Crawford, so long and honorably known to the peo- 
ple of Lee count}', came here in 1835 and for a year he lived with 
Mr. Hollingshead. From the day Mr. Crawford struck Lee 
county he kept a diary of his life and its transactions and it is 
preserved today by his sou, J. W. Crawford. It is tilled with 
interesting stories which go to make up the real history of Lee 
county. After the year spent with Mr. Hollingshead, Mr. Craw- 
ford removed to Dixon, and ever afterwards lived in Dixon, 
becoming its mayor, a member of the Legislature and otherwise 
one of its leading citizens. 

Solomon Shelhamer located in Dixon township in 1837, but 
after remaining a slioil while he removed to Nachusa town- 
ship. 

In 1836 Jolm ('hambcrlain l)()Ught the Hollingshead claim, 
latei' the Stiles farm. In the same year a Mr. Fisk came out 
from Pennsylvania, bringing with hmi a stock of goods with 
which he l)egan a Ijusiness in tlie house formerly occupied by Mr. 
Hollingshead. 

Barclay Smith came in 1836 and bought the lower ferry farm, 
now in Dixon township, on section 14. Messrs. Crandall, Jerry 
Murphy and Josiah Moores came a little latei'. 

Down in the southern end of the township, contiguous to the 
old Chicago stage road, a Mr. Jones came first and located on 
sccti(»n 20. In 1838, Dr. Charles Gardner selected a claim in 
section 20. He I'cturned to his eastern home in Rhode Island 
and in Felu'uarv, 1839, he returned with his lumsehold goods 
traveling practically the route i>ursued by Covernor Chartei's. 
From Newpoi't, Rhode Island, he shipped his goods by sloop to 
New Orleans. From there they were taken up the Mississippi 
river by keel boat to the mouth of the Illiuois river ; thence up 
that stream to Peru, where they were unloaded and taken liy 
team over to Inlet and the home farm. 

Rev. Erastus DeWolf, from Rhode Island, related by mar- 
3'iage to INIrs. Chailes Gardner, came ahout the same time as 
Doctor Gardner, and liought Mr. Jones' claim. He was an Epis- 
co])al minister and he had much to do, I am told, Avith the erec- 
tion of the Episcopal church in Lee Center. 

Alvah Hale came a little later and settled in section 33. In 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 423 

1840 Jolm Leake came ; two years later his brother, Dauicl, came, 
bringing both families from England, the parental home. 

Buiing the years 1839 and 181:0 malarial fever and bilious 
fever prevailed to an alarming extent throughout these new set- 
tlements. While it was not necessarily fatal, deaths did occur and 
it swe})t nearly everybody into a bed of sickness of varying length. 
It was the fever and ague with which old books teem. 

On section 22, now in Dixon township, the first cemetery was 
established on the farm of John Hetler. It was abandoned, how- 
ever, soon after and the later one was established by Josiah 
Moores on the southeast quarter of section 23, now in Dixon town- 
ship. Sadly coincident with this location. Mr. Moores was the 
first to be liuried in the new cemetery. 

Joseph Brierton came here in 1836. Inasmuch as his claim 
is now included in Dixon township, it would be Ijetter to defer 
remarks al)out him for Dixon, although by every association he 
should be regarded a Naehusa man along with his other neigh- 
bors of the kingdom. 

Mrs. M. D. Oilman in speaking of the kingdom once bearing 
the prefix smelling of the brimstone which the proprietor's name 
is apt to carry, mentions a fact that a brother of Emma Abbott 
built a sawmill in the neighborhood, in which lum])ei' was sawed 
and shingles were made. This was in the spring of 1838. It was 
located on Atwood creek. The same man afterwards built a chair 
factory on the banks of the creek south of the bridge. Subse- 
quently he sold out his holdings to Atwood. 

Along the Chicago road there settled Ludlam Ayres, Levi 
Green, Thomas Hopkins, William Parker, William Richardson, 
James Goddard and Don Cooper, most of them in the forties. 
Some of them, however, from recent changes of boundary, would 
have to be classed old settlers of Dixon. 

The boiuidaries of Xaehusa have been changed more fre- 
quently than those of any other township and one is led a merry 
chase to keep track of the western and northwestern boundary 
of the township for any length of time. Don Cooper sold his 
claim to Joseph Emmert, a man of means and tremendoTis energy. 
The next year he built the best improvements on the place to be 
found in Lee county. The residence was a fine two-story affair 
and the barn was a very large one, its sills and timbers all being 
hewed from hardwood trees. It was the first large barn built in 
the county. In the 3-ear 1850 Mr. Enunert built a large flour- 
ing mill on Franldin creek. It was the first one built in the 




424 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

township and it was almost the first one to be built in the county. 
At all CA-ents M^ien completed it was the best and most com- 
plete. 

In the 3'ear 1847 Alexander P. Dysart, later colonel of the 
Thirty-fourth Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, purchased the claim 
of Thomas Hopkins and entered other lauds from the Govern- 
ment. In the year 1846 John M. Crawford and Samuel Craw- 
ford came to Nachusa township and located on lands which they 
held until their respective deaths. 

These two families, the Crawfords and the Dysarts, were 
large families, and to this very day their children and grand- 
children are niunerous. I do not know the family that ever 
resided in Lee ct)unty better qualified to receive honor from the 
historian or biographer than the Crawfords and the Dysarts. 
They were promient in all the useful walks of life. They were 
people of strong character. They were fearless; the}' were up- 
right and generous and enterprising and in tlie upbuilding of 
this county they have been powerful factors. The last of the old 
guard has gone to his reward, but long after the names of Craw- 
ford and of Dysart shall go down before the Reaper, the names 
of the old pioneer members of those families will live in the mem- 
ory of Lee county people. 

The village of Nachusa was platted by Joseph Crawford, 
county surveyor, JNIarch 1, 1851, and Col. Alexander P. Dysart 
and George Baugh were proprietors of the townsite. At first it 
was named Taylor, but with time the names of the township and 
the village were made identical. 

About the time of the platting A. P. Dysart and a man named 
Cunningham erected a store and entered the mercantile business. 
About 1860 John Dysart and a Mr. Riley succeeded to the business 
and in conjunction they erected a grain elevator. 

The first postmaster was Alexander P. Dysart and almost con- 
tinuously ever sinct' some memlier of the Dysart family has been 
the postmaster. The first school in the township, built of stone, 
was erected l)y Cyi'us Chamberlain and presented to the school 
district. It was Located on section 19. Mr. Chester Harring-ton 
was the fii'st teacher. Prior to its erection, schools were taught 
in ])rivatc houses by a man named Sheldon, who was the first 
teacher in the townshi}). Cyrus Chamberlain was the first justice 
of the peace and he was the first master in chancery as well. He 
also built the first sawmill in this part of the county. 



II 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 425 

The seeoud seliuulhuiisc was jjuilt of stone, on seeti(->n 26, and 
the same Later was used as a church by the United Brethren. 

AVhen Lee and Ogle counties were united as one under the 
name Ogle, Cyrus Chanil)erhun was one of the county couunis- 
sioners. During all his life he was an active, whole-souled, gen- 
erous man of affairs, always read_y and willing to contribute lib- 
erally of his time and means to push the interests of his county or 
his neighborhood. 

After reading the di'lightful relation by Mrs. E. C. Smith 
(Sephie Gardner) of the trials of her parents, Doctor and Mrs. 
Charles Gardner, the history of Nachusa in a general way looms 
up big and forceful. The family lived on the Chicago road, six 
miles from Dixon, six miles from Inlet Grove, six miles from 
Palestine Grove and six miles from Franklin Grove. Emigrants 
by the hundreds passed their home. The reputation of kind Mrs. 
Gardner had gone l^ack east and almost every emigrant knew 
Mrs. Gardner and her deeds of kindness long lief ore entering the 
Inlet coimtry. Many times indeed T am afraid the dear lady 
was taken advantage of hy impecunious, though agueish emi- 
grants. Her aimt, Mrs. Erastus DeWolf, came west and bought a 
place about a mile from the (^Jardners and in Amit Hannah's 
parlor the first Siuiday school ever held in the townsliip was 
held. The ver}^ first school, too, ever tarught in the township, Mrs. 
Smith insists was taught in Aunt Flannairs house. Prior to that 
time the children had been sent to Mrs. Edson's in South Dixon. 
The first teacher in Mrs. DeWolf 's house was Miss Betsey De- 
Wolf, who married John Barnes, a brother of Uzal and Nelson 
Barnes. 

The first death in the township was of "Old Michael," a man 
who worked for Mrs. DeWolf. This was about the year IS-iO, 
and at the time ]\L's. DeWolf g;n-e the little l^urying ground which 
MichaeFs grave dedicated, to be used for cemetery purposes. It 
was in the northwest part of the farm and is called the DeWolf 
cemetery to this day. 

In J8I2, or 1841 perhaps, the first schoolhouse in the south end 
of the township was built and Miss Betsey DeWolf taught there ; 
also a Miss Hunter. The school afterwards was moved to the 
southwest corner of the Gardner place, where it was known as the 
Locust Street place, from the numl^ers of locust trees gr(A\iiig 
there. ])lanted by Dr. Gardner. 

In 1840 Thomas Bro\\m brought his bride to live in the little 
cabin just opposite the Gardnei's. They had been old friends 



426 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

back at Newport, Rhode Island. Among the good old names 
associated with the name and life of Mrs. Gardner are Mrs. Wil- 
liam W. Heatou, Mrs. O. F. Ayres (who lived at Inlet for a while), 
Mrs. Seaman and Mr-s. Silas Noble, all of Dixon ; Mrs. Charles F. 
Ingalls, Mrs. Hannmn, j\Irs. Abram Brown and Mrs. Sarah Trow- 
bridge, names to endure as long as grateful memories are permit- 
ted and as long as the Lee coimty chronicler will take the trouble 
to write accurately. 

I might add also the names of Mrs. William Y. Johnson, Mrs. 
Ozias Wheeler, Mrs. J. T. Little, Aunt Sally Herrick, Mrs. Alonzo 
Mead, Aunt Polly Hale. Never has story been told better of the 
cares of the country doctor than by Mrs. Smith when writing of 
her father's experience. 

"My father came west with the intention of becoming a fanner 
and giving u]) the medical work, which had been so severe a tax 
upon him and mothei' in Newport, but it was simply inhuman to 
refuse to give what aid he could to the sick and suffering in the 
new coimtry. He was far too warm-hearted to consider personal 
comfort when weighed against such odds. 

"So it came about that in less than a year he was riding all 
about the county, over the trackless prairies, fording streams, or 
getting 'sloughed,' in a practice far more extended and difficult 
than that of the city had been. Sometimes in a sickly season he 
got scarcely any rest, except in his buggy, and his faithful horse 
learned to go from place to place with the reins lying loose on Ms 
back or to find his wa}^ home in storms with imerring fidelity, 
when, as father said, he could not 'see his own hands, or tell which 
way they were going. ' 

"He often had to be not only physician, l)ut nurse, cook, sur- 
geon, dentist, law.yer, oi' even housemaid when he foimd families 
all sick and needing these varied services. The enduring regard 
of the friends of those days proves beyond question that he filled 
all the offices acceptably, though his rewards were often of a very 
unsul)stautial character. 

"Mother often supplemented his work, going with him, or 
taking liis place in milder cases oi' on alternate days, but some- 
times she had to sacrifice personal comfort or even more that he 
might minister to those in greater need." 

lie went northward as far as Buffalo Grove and to the east 
into DcKalb county; going, coming, nights and days, without 
meals and almost always without pay for his services. Such a 
man was Di-. Charleys Gardner, the old pioneer physician of 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 427 

Nachusa township. Many years he has been gone. The old home- 
stead has changed hands but I doubt if the solitary thoughtful 
person ever passes the old homestead but he says to himself, 
"There is the old Doctor Gardner place." Children are taught to 
reverence it and I verily believe that so long as memories of the 
glories of the old Chicago road shall endure, so long shall mem- 
ories of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Gardner endure. 

Among the children who attended Sunday school at the home of 
Mrs. DeWolf were the Leake children and we are told that Sun- 
day school drew children from many miles of circuit. 

The handsome brick house on the Chicago road which to this 
day is the admiration of the countryside, was built by Daniel 
Leake. The other members of the Leake family already named 
but not nicknamed were Butcher John Leake, Miller John Leake, 
and John Leake, Jr. ; all Johns. Then there was Daniel and his 
children. 

1 have just learned that ]Miss Nancy Teal was one of the very 
early teachers of the stone school buOt by Mr. Cyrus Chamber- 
lain. She was sixteen years old at the time. She was fortunate 
in her salary, receiving one dollar and fifty cents a week instead 
of the current stipend, one dollar and twenty-five cents. Mr. 
Chamberlain gave her a tin horn and requested her to blow it 
whenever she required assistance. One day the horn was blown 
and Mr. Chamberlain resjjonded promptly. An unruly pupil was 
sent home. His irate father returned to school at once prepared 
and resolved to thrash the teacher. But a few well timed remarks 
from Mr. Chamberlain sent him back home and not very long 
afterwards the pupil apologized. Mr. Chamberlain was always do- 
ing services for others ; many of them of great value, and if not 
too late I should like to add that over in Grand Detour he built 
in 1852 a Methodist church costing $2, .500 and donated it to the 
society. About 1850 the "Red" schoolhouse w^as built substan- 
tially on the county line. 

Elias Teal came to this neighborhood in 3836. He was a Gov- 
ernment siu'veyor. He bTiilt a log hoi;se and lived on the place 
the rest of his long life. His place is known today as Teal's 
corner. 

On the northeast quarter of section 19 and over into the south 
half of section 18, the old trading house of LaSallier and the big 
Indian l)ui"ying grounds were located and there in 1822 as will be 
found in another chapter, a large business was done with the 
Indians in furs. Only a little distance from there was the big 



428 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

ludiau village in wliicli Andrew Mack dwelt iu the very early 
days and there too was l)uilt the fui' press used iu pressing furs 
for the Indians and the traders indiscriminately. So far as is 
laiown Nachusa township contained the tirst settlements or at 
least the first white settlers that ever set foot iu Lee county. 
Traces uf the LaSallier cal)iu, the fur press and of the Indian 
^'illage are to be found easily at the present day. 

The LaSallier place was on the farm of Eugene Harrington, 
whose father Avas another of the very oldest of the old pioneer set- 
tlei's of Nachusa. In Naehnsa too is located the Kingdom, known 
far and wide almost from the ):»eginuing of things. Just now the 
lirst part of the name has been forgotten by the present genera- 
tion. But it is a fact that because that section of the river country 
was so naughty iu the early day, it was called "The Devil's King- 
dom." 

All is changed now. Within its confines will be found the very 
best w^e have of citi^^enship. Beaiitifid homes; substantial out- 
buildings, macadam roads, automobiles; verily a land flowing A\i.th 
milk and hone^^ 

The German Baptist (or Dunkard) church on section 5 was 
organized by Rev. Jacob Euuuert and the church was built about 
the year 1850. This structure was superseded by the later one, 
34x54, with basement and kitchen and sleeping room above the 
audience room. The society organized with about twenty mem- 
bers, among who were Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Lahman; Mr. 
and Mrs. Jacol> Riddlesbarger ; Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Riddles- 
barger; Oliver Edmonds and wife; Benjamin Kesler and family, 
with others. 

The name of the first preaclu'r who can ))e recalled, was Benja- 
min. He i»reaclied around at the different houses. Another min- 
ister named Reed, an Englishman, i)i'eached to the early settlers 
at the stone schoolhouse near Joseph Briertou's. 

James A. Ilcatou, came to this townsliip in 1844; Jonathan 
Depuy arrived iu this township June 2, 1842; William W. Darker 
came in 1845; Sanmel Crawford, 1848; William H. Fiscel, 1848; 
John P. Brubaker, 1849; th(> Keslers iu 1850; Col. A. P. Dysart 
locatt'd in 1845 and settled permanently in 1847; John Leake 
landed at Dixon's Ferry with Isaac Means and William Moody; 
Daniel Leake, and Thomas Leake, sons of John Leake, brought the 
rest of tlie I^enke family iu 1841, and John C. Leake came with the 
last named in 1841 ; Daniel Leake who came in 1841; Calvin Bur- 
kett. 1819: John M. Crawford. 1849; John R. INIerrill, 1839; Wil- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 429 

liam Garrison, 1845 ; the Hansen family, 1840 ; George Palmer, 
1846; Jacob Wertman, 1838; Benjamin F. Brandon, 1837; Jacob 
Emniert, 1841 ; Marshall McNeel, 1847 ; Jacob Hittle, 1841 ; Clies- 
ter Harrington or as sometimes spelled Herrington, came to the 
Kingdom in 3837. He married Miss Zerina, danghter of Gyrus 
Chamberlain. It is on his farm that the old LaSallier trading 
station was located. John Garrison came in 1845 ; Alexander 
Depny came in 184(J. 

This closes the chapter of Nachnsa, the first settled township of 
the connty according to its present boundaries. Of course for 
some time it was in Dixon precinct. But most of the time it was a 
part of China toA\aiship and while the Harrington farm during 
that period was in China township, China then might claim the 
right to be styled the oldest town in the county. We are dealing 
with the year 1914 however. Nachnsa in this year, contains the 
Harrington farm; consequent!}" in dealing with things as they are 
today, Nachnsa is the oldest township in point of settlement by a 
white man in Lee county. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

NELSON TOWNSHIP. 

Superficially, Nelson is a small township; but in everything 
that makes for progress, good citizenship and home making, Nel- 
son is of the largest. Always intensely loyal to its neighbor, Dixon, 
much of its history is so closely identified with Dixon's that I fear, 
one nuist look into Dixon's history to get Nelson's history. 

While referring to Nelson's loyalty to Dixon, I should say that 
when it became necessary to enlarge the old first courthouse and 
make it over into our second courthouse, the burden as usual fell 
upon Dixon to meet the expense. The county board refused to con- 
sider the proposal of enlai'gement. Amboy always awake to its 
opportunity to wrest from Dixon that county scat oi)posed and 
so it became necessary for Dixon to shoulder the expense. The 
burden was heavy and in a manner si;perbly generous, Nelson 
township cheerfully consented to assume responsibility for part 
of the debt incurred in the enterprise. Accordingly a tax was vol- 
untarily spread and collected. The Northwestern road passes 
through Nelson t<:iwnship in a southwesterly course, entering sec- 
tion twelve and leaving through section nineteen. On section 
twenty the village of Nelson was platted. For years it remained 
contented with the ordinary routine of village life. No aspirations 
for big things ever appealed to its few substantial citizens, but 
when the cut off was made between Nelson and Nachusa, Nelson 
took on considei'able commercial importance, because 1:)efore that 
time a few years, the bi'auch southward from Nelson to Peoria had 
been built and the two roads made of Nelson a center of impor- 
tance. Recently Avhen the Northwestern pushed its road farther 
into the coal fields. Nelson as a railroad center was placed in a 
commanding position. Into Nelson there come for distribution 
over the entire system, over 800 carloads of coal per day to say 
nothing of the other cars of general merchandise. 

431 



432 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

The first settler of Nelsuu tuwusliip was Luther Stone who 
came iu 1836 fi'om Erie county, New I'ork, and made his claim on 
section 29. His sous, Burrill and Samuel Stone came with their 
father and shared all his hardships. Abuer Coggswell settled 
there in 1843. Charles ¥. Hubbard came there in 1837. Lewis 
Brauer, Nathan Morehouse and Charles Noble, father of Charles 
H. and Col. Henr}- T. Noljle were among the other early settlers 
of Nelson. Mr. Charles F. Hubbard, one of the most conspicuous, 
like many others came to Leo county through an accident. 

In company with his Ijrother-in-law, William Graham, he 
started for the Rocky mountains. These two young men went 
from New Y^ork to Pittsburg, thence down the Ohio river to Cairo ; 
thence up the Mississippi to St. Louis which was to be their point 
of debarkation for the mountains. But ujDon reaching there they 
foiuid the Sante Fo wagon train had gone and no other train would 
depart for a long while. The Rock river country had a great repu- 
tation at the time and so they turned their course northward and 
came to Dixon. Buying a claim from John Dixon, they settled on 
the south bank of Rock river and there Mr. Hubbard lived until the 
day of his death, on the northeast quarter of section 11, the bluff 
of which overlooks the river for a long distance. 

The Hul)bards and the Grahams and the Bayleys and the Law- 
i-ences, living on opposite sides of the river were i^eople of rare in- 
telligence and education. The_v all were people of means. I sup- 
pose one might not offend the truth to style them aristocrats. In 
point of l)reeding, gentility, refinement and culture, they certainly 
were citizens of the very first rank. No better ever entered the 
confines of I^ee county. Nelson l)eing oiiginally a part of Dixon 
precinct, I must ask the reader to consult Dixon hivstory to secure 
very much of Nelson's history. 

Tjuther Stone erected on his claim a large log house and in that 
he kept tavern for many years. 

The first supervisor of the towushi]i was Al^ner Cogswell". The 
first justices of the peace Avere Daniel LThl and George Jones. The 
first assessor was Michael Troutman. The first collector was R. 
Henry Heatoii. all of whom were elected in 1860 the year the town- 
shi}) was set off and organized. 

Nelson was the home of (iraiidma AVeed, who while alive en- 
joyed the (listincticm of being the oldest of the five generations of 
Heatons, li\ing at one time. Slie Avas lO."^ years old. Following 
came (Jrandfather Heaton : his sou. Judge William W. Heatou : 
liis son, Dwight Heatou and his sou, Cliarles. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 433 

The leading and I may say the only eliureh in Nelson township 
isZion's Evangelical church, Lutheran, which was organized Feb. 
23, 1867, with tifty-eight nieml^ers. The tirst elders were Conrad 
Hartnian and Daniel Uhl ; the tirst deacons were Lewis F. Long 
and Gerhart Missman. The first pastor was Rev. A. A. Trimper, 
the Dixon Lutheran minister. The second pastor was Ephraim 
Miller, who assumed his duties there in 1871. In 1875, Rev. J. P. 
Sanderson followed. In the year 1877, Rev. J. W. Henderson as- 
sumed charge and in 1879, Rev. J. B. Kast became pastor. 

In 1880 a new building was erected costing" $3,500 on the land 
of Conrad Hartnian. 

The Sundav school of Zion's church alwavs has been a grati- 
fying success. 



CHAPTER XXXII 
PALMYRA TOWNSHIP 

The proximity of this towuship to Dixou and the warm social 
aud poHtical friendships always existiug for Dixon, makes the 
towuship almost a eonmion t-onnnnnity with Dixon, and to speak of 
Dixon one seems in dnty Ixunid to inclnde this large and wealthy 
and patriotic township of Palmyra. To this day Dixon contains 
more sons and daughters of Palmyra than she holds of her own 
children. The home loving tendency always has been strong with 
the old settler there and with his children. Few of the old settlers 
ever moved westward. They set their stakes in Palmyra and there 
nine-tenths of them remained mitil loving friends followed them 
to their tinal resting place in the ))eautiftd cemetery near by. 

The drainage towards Rock river, which is Palmyra's south 
boundary, could not l^e ordered lietter. Its numerous park-like 
groves furnished timber in abundance to the early settler. Its first 
settlers were sturdy homeseekers, able and more than willing to 
meet the struggle with frontier hardships. Sugar Grove, covering 
over two thousand acres, in the n(n-thwest pai't of the township, was 
the largest of the groves. In partial compensation, those settlers 
found fish in the river, and game in the timber and on the prairies 
in abundance. Maple sugar was easily supplied; nuts for the 
winter, berries for the summer and for winter preserves were sup- 
plied lavishly ; and in the roar of crackling winter fires, in the glow 
of great fireplaces, the pioneer of Palmyra enjoyed all the creature 
comforts man could honestly crave. And who shall say the showier 
civilization of today affords a greater enjoyment ? 

Like the sister settlements of Inlet and j\Ieln gin's Grove, those 
of Palmyra began in 1834. ]\[emliers of the Morgan family, John 
and Harvey, the father, and Benjamin Stewart, with them, came 
first. 

435 



436 HISTORY OF LEF: COUNTY 

Tln' Winnebago ludiaus from the Preeport and ProplietstowB 
villages were nuniei'ons. but fiiendly. On the south side of Sugar 
Crrove, the Morgans and Stewart settled. In November of 1834 
John H. Page and wife and Stephen Fellows ; in the spiing of 1835 
a large number of settlers came ahmg and took up claims in Pal- 
mj'ra. The iunid)er included Smith Clilbraith. Wright, Tomlin, 
Capt. Oliver Hidibard, James Power and sons. Thomas and 
Jephtha; Michael Felhjws, Al)salom Fender with his large family, 
William W. Bethea, Daniel Christ, Anson Thnnmiel, Jefferson 
Hari'is, Keplinger, Nathan Moi'ehouse, Sales, Thomas and his sons, 
Enoch and Noah; Sandy (William T.) Bush, Elkanah B. Bush, 
Martin Richardson, William W. Tilton. Other early settlers were : 
Hiram P. Parks, William Miller, 1841 ; Walter L^ Rogers, 1839; 
Oliver A. Hubbard, 1836; Franklin Wilson, 1856; Simeon T. 
Martin, 1837; Harvey E. Johnson, 1845; Charles Lawton, 1854: 
Charles A. Guyot, 1852; David A. Holly, settled in Chinatown 
in 1835 and in Palmyra, 1845; Eben H. Johnson, 1838; Charles 
A. Martin, 1836; Aiiios Goodwin, 1852; Jacob Martin, 1836; 
Matthias Schick, 1842; John L. Lord, 1838 in Dixon, and 1841, 
Palmyra; Charles A. Becker, 1839 in Dixon, then in Palmyra in 
'40s;"Williani Myers, 1836; George L. Klostermau, 1845;" John 
Tharp Law^rence and cousin, Alexander Campbell, Aug. 9, 1839; 
Charles B. Thummel, 1845; Anson E. Thmnmel, 1841; ^Alfred A. 
Beede, 1836; Anton Harms, 1848; Ralph E. Johnson, 1847, born 
there; Henry Miller, 1838; Becker Miller, 1838; Winthrop Seavey, 
1839; T. A. Butler, 1839; John Mor.se, 1838; Daniel Beardsley, 
sy 1835; John C. Oliver; Al)ijah Powers; Henry Coe, 1836; Walter 
Rogers; Reuben Eastwood; Timothy Butler; Hugh Graham; John 
Lawrence; Abner Moon; John, father of John L. Lord; Jarvin 
N. Flolly; James, Jacol) and Tyler Martin; Capt. Jonas M. John- 
son; William Y. and Morris Johnson; Joshua Seavey and sons, 
Jesse and Wintlirop; .Josima Mai'den and son, William; Albert 
and John Jenness; Harvey E. .lolmson ; < 'hai'les and Dana Colum- 
bia; Tjcvi I>riggs and father; Thomas Monk; AVilliam and John 
Benjamin; Truxton and Lenniel Sweeney; John and Joseph 
Thom}).S(»n; John Norris; William and Lockwood Harris; William 
Burgei'; AA'illiani Stack])ole; Rev. William Gates; James Gates; 
William and Thomas Ayi-es; L. and E. Devo; C(d. Lemau Mason 
and sons, Sterne, Volney and Rodney; Moses Warner and sons, 
Henry, JNIoses and Geoi'ge; Major Sterling; Henry and Gustavus 
Sartorius; Nehemiah, William, Fletcher and jNlorris Hutton ; 
Abi'am Obi'ist; Mnitiu Hlair; \\'esle\' Atkinson; Thomas and 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY ' 437 

Moses Scalliou; Juliu C'arley; Hardiu; Beach; Beujainm Gates; 
Charles A. Becker; Becker Miller; Curtis; Martin and William 
Braiier ami William Miller. 

It was AV. W. Betliea who remarketl that he was attracted to 
these parts because Johu Bixuu was reputed to be the uidy mau who 
had auy moue\' and Avho always gave employment to liim who asked 
for it. The lirst dollar earued iu Lee couuty by Mr. Bethea was his 
wage from Mr. Uixou. 

Mrs. Hubbard did the lirst teaching in I'almyra in her own 
house. A private school taught at the Fender place by William Y. 
Johnson in 18J:1, was next. At Prairie \ille in the upper room of a 
house Levi Gaston taught a private school. A r(jugh building half 
way between Gap Grove and the old Fender homestead was used 
during winter mouths for two winters for school purposes. William 
W. Bethea was the teacher. But if I am correctly informed the 
true historic Ijuilding was the old log schoolhouse standing on the 
southwest corner of John H. Page's field: it was neai- the forks of 
the road and was surrounded by a locust grove. This old school iu 
184:5 numbered fifty pupils. Among the teachers were William Y. 
Johnson in 1844, subsequently an EpiscoiJal clergyman; John 
Norris ; Emeline Dodd, subsequently his wife ; Aljigail Norris, a 
sister, who married Noah Thomas; t^^arah Badger, a sister of the 
Ainboy Badgers, and Calista Mason, daughter uf Col. Lemau 
Mason, and subsequently wife of Morris Johnst)n. 

Afterwards, a frame school Ijuilding \vas l)uilt at (ia}) Grove, 
across the road from ^Irs. Hutton's house. The hiugar Grove frame 
buildi]}g was built about 181:7, near the site of the later church and 
school building. Following is a description of it : "It was severely 
plain, unpainted, imfenced and destitute of shade. Simplicity also 
reigned within. The high-backed benches, with their imgainly 
desks, separated 1)}' aisles, were elevated from one to two feet or 
more above the fioor, sloping down an inclined plane, and were 
marvels of ugliness. Not a map adorned the walls, nor was any 
apparatus fui'nished, with the exception of a Idacklxuird. There 
was not even a bell to sununon the pupils from their play, the 
teacher having to ra}) on a window with a book or ferrule. In the 
year 1857-58, a brick cluu'ch, with l)asement for school purposes 
was built near the old site. ' ' 

A phonetic school was taught at Gap Grove in early days by 
Rev. A. B. Pickard, a Methodist minister from Mount Morris. His 
sou taught the same system at the same time in the little log school- 
house standing near John Lord's residence. 



438 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Another school was taught by the Judd brothers in the old 
town hall at Gap Urove. Advanced students only were taught; 
many from a distance attended. 

Not to be lacking in variety, Gap and Sugar Groves each had a 
singing school taught by a party named Durgeon. Spelling schools, 
too, were a source of winter pleasures and prolit. These contests 
excited township-wide interest. Families were expected to furnish 
tallow di])S, whicli were arrami,(Ml in sockets at intervals upon the 
walls, and many times their drippings would drop below on the head 
of some imlucky speller. In !1857 illuminating lamps for school use 
at Sugar Grove, first appeared. Campheue was the fluid i;sed in 
them. 

Anuxial Sunday school celebrations were held, generally on Jul_y 
4th, and at the Gap. Sometimes the Palmyra people united wdth 
the BTift'alo Grove people and to the latter place they went in a 
gi'and procession ; many times with banners and flying streamers. 

Travel through Palmyra township w^as almost continuous 
during the early da_ys, and hand in hand with blacksmith shops 
the taTerns for men and women and stables for horses were a neces- 
sity. Consequently along the big highwa,v, taverns were scattered. 

In Palmyra Captain Fellows kept one and John C. Oliver kept 
another. 

Parmei's generally foinid it necessary to make three or four 
trips to Chicago yearly. Pr(^visions were taken along many times 
for man to eat, and horse feed, always. Tripp's tavern at Inlet was 
a favorite stopping place. It w^as the first stop. 

Cordiiroy roads over swampy grounds many times w^ere worse 
than the swamps they were presumed to bridge. 

After loading for the return voyage, it was found generally that 
there were waiting many horseless people in Chicago, wanting to 
come out into Lee county, and never was there a load so great or so 
heavy Init that a trunk and a passenger or two coidd be accommo- 
dated. 

The first church in Palmyra was built jointly by the Methodists 
and Congregationalists and occupied by them on alternate Smi- 
days. It was located on the present site of the Gap Grove school- 
house. Its dimensions were 24xo(): painted white without and 
within. A wood stove heated it ; tall-liacked benches provided 
seating capacity; tin sockets f(u- candles were arranged on the 
walls, with reflectors on the back. Congregational singing w^as the 
vogue and John IT. Page and his timing fork provided the momen- 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 439 

turn. Rev. Barton Cartwrigiit preached at times for the Methodists 
and Reverend Copelin for the Congregationalists. 

The fii'st church services were hekl in the liome of Caj^t. Stephen 
Fellows and later at a little log schoolhouse standing near the 
present Horace Gilbert home at Gap Grove. In 1839, Mrs. Martha 
Parks and her husband attended church there and at their first 
service listened to Rev. Arrion Gaston. This Mrs. Parks was the 
last survivor of the old Dixon and Buffalo Cirove Baptist church. 

While speaking of Mrs. Parks, I should state that her daughter, 
Mrs. Thomas Ayres, was named b}^ ' ' Mother ' ' Dixon after herself, 
Rebecca Dixon Parks, and for a name present gave the child a deed 
for a lot in Dixon. Mr. Parks never thought it woidd amount to 
anything and never got the deed recorded. The lot today is covered 
by the building of the E. N. Howell Hardware Company. 

E. B. Bush was first postmaster. After county organization, 
William W. Bethea and Levi Gaston Ijecame the lirst justices of 
the peace. 

On Nov. 18, 1838, Mr. and Mrs. Eben H. Johnson wrote letters 
back to York state. Therein Mr. Johnson says, "wheat is worth 
$L25 per bushel and corn 50 cents." 

Six years later he wrote and stated that Chicago and St. Louis, 
with sometimes the Galena mines were their markets. St. Louis 
was reached by Rock and the Mississippi rivers. Wheat then was 
75 cents to $1 i^er bushel, 80 cents at Galena ; corn, 25 cents ; oats, 
20 and 25 cents ; butter, 12 to 18 cents ; cheese, 6 to 8 cents; dressed 
pork, $3 to $4 ; horses, $100 to $150 a span ; cows, $8 to $12 ; sheep, 
$] .50 to $2 ; wool, 31 cents ; timber laud, $10 to $12 ]3er acre ; prairie 
land, one mile and further from timber, $1.25 per acre. Wooden 
axle wagons were sold from $60 to $70 each. In the same letter 
Mr. Johnson declares money was plenty. Mr. Johnson when he 
wrote the letter, was a good Palmyra booster. 

Rev. Stephen N. Fellows, S(m of Stei)hen Fellows, in a lengthy 
letter has done much for preserving Palmyra history to us, l)y 
writing it down for "Recollections of the Pioneers." His father, 
with his family, settled in Sugar GroA^e, in Xovember, 1834; they 
moved into a 14x14 log cabin in the Grove, just west of the ^Nlyers 
place, and fourteen people made it their home. In the spring of 
1835, he built a log house on the "old place," later Peck farm. In 
1836 an addition of two stories was built, with a room between. 
The upper story was used for a school room and for church ]:)ur- 
poses. Until 1837, it was the only place used for meetings. Some- 
times quarterly meetings were held here. In 1839 Stephen Fel- 



440 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

lows, William Martin and Ambrose Hubbard united and with such 
help as could be gut, they built the old Gap Grove church, 24x36. 
Stephen Fellows died I'eb. 8, 1840, and was the tirst to be buried 
from that church. Mr. E'ellows thinks his sister Margaret and his 
brother Samuel were the hrst teachers in the township. Samuel 
taught in the house in the wdnter of 1835-36. The tirst Sunday 
school was held in the tirst schuolhouse mentioned, and William 
Martin was superintendent and only teacher. 

Death claimed man}' in the early day. Uau Beardsley, 1839; 
W. W. Bethea's wife and three children; Capt. Stephen Fellows' 
two daughters, Margaret and Mrs. Allen, wdio died in 1836; a 
Mr. McGee. 

Private cemeteries prevailed here as in all new settlements. 
There were two graves on the Powers place at Gap Grove, the 
second one being that of a stranger who came from Kentucky and 
his malady was supposed to be asiatic cholera. He died on the 
night of his arrival. 

The first public burying ground was npon the Capt. Stephen 
Fellows place, on the north side of the road, on the hill east of the 
barn. But when in 1840 the Gap Grove cemetery was located, 
most of the scattered bodies were re-interred in it. The tirst burial 
in the new cemetery was that of Captain Fellows, Feb. 8, 1840. 

In a connnunity exclusively rural, one woidd expect to find no 
manufacturing or mechanical industries. Xo early day contrariety 
worked so boldly as this exception right here in Palmyra. Begin- 
ning with the trapper and huntei'. Sales, of Sales' Spring, the 
milling industry of Lee county made its appearance. He landed 
there with nothing but a collection of mouths, stretched wide open, 
like young robins. But he was not afi^aid to work. If he would 
split one hmidred rails, his wage was one bushel of corn. The 
corn he carried home, bored a hole down the center of a log, OA-er 
which he fastened a slender pole with an iron wedge inserted in its 
end. Working this ])ole u]) and down, ho ])ulverized the corn ; then 
sifting it, ho used the finer "[larticles for meal; the coarser for 
hominy. With fish and water and woodfowl and berries and sugar 
from the maples, the family of good appetite reveled in good 
living. 

In the early days Wilson's mills had a reputation foi- turning 
out tine flour which spread all over northern Illinois, and he was a 
Pahnyi'a man. It saved the northwestern part of the state future 
hni'dsliiiis of triiis to Cliicnuo. 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 441 

Joseph Wilson, an old Brandywine miller, and a Quaker, settled 
on Elkhorn creek, operated his mill on that creek excepting at those 
times when the creek was dry, then Aurora on Fox river was their 
milling town. Tliis mill was constructed by the neighbors who 
turned out in a body and luiilt it, a rough log affair. Winter wheat 
generally was ground. 

After the death by drowning in Elkhorn creek, of Daniel Obrist, 
while seining, his brother, Aliram, built a vei-y much needed saw- 
mill on Elkhorn creek and here flooring, timbers, door and window 
frames and siding were sawed out, thus saving the farmers tremen- 
dous labor. The first siding from this mill was used to build the 
first frame barn in the toAvnship, on the Ben Stewart place. Barn 
raisings were very comnmn in those days. The entire neighbor- 
hood turned out invariably; plenty to eat was provided by the 
women; plenty of Fred Butcher's corn whiskey was provided by 
the men; and when completed, the barn was "baptized" by break- 
ing another bottle over the plate either by Reuben Eastwood or 
Abner Moon, whose vigorous hmg power had provided them with 
voices to echo the proper speech. 

Blacksmith shops were luunerous the country over, especially 
along the Chicago road which passed through this township. A 
man named Smith opened the fii'st shop. James Carley followed 
soon afterwards. The latter 's shop stood a little west of Mrs. John 
Lawrence's house. A very talented but besotted man named 
Beach was his assistant. John Lord's shop, a little way out from 
the milk factory, was started in 1841. Twelve years later his son, 
John L. Lord, succeeded to the business and for years Lord's 
wagons were scattered all over northern Illinois. Matthias Schick's 
establishment followed in 1843, at Prairieville. On the north side 
of the grove Charles Cohunbia operated one in a log house just 
opposite Rei;ben Eastwood's home. This subsequently was moved 
across Sugar creek to the Columbia farm and was carried on by 
Dana Columbia, a brother, for many years. Four early shoe shops 
found their way into Palmyra. 

Before passing the subject of manufacturing, I must copy a few 
words which tell of the man Beach who assisted James Carley: 
"This Beach belonged to a highly respectable family in the East, 
and had received an excellent business education. He kept Carley 's 
books, which were models of neatness. He also blew the bellows 
and fetched the whiskey f r( )m Dixon. Old settlers will ever remem- 
ber this mass of rags and pimples, his head crowned with a dilapi- 



442 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

dated old stovepipe, always filled with old greasy newspapers, 
which he greedily devoured when he had leisure." 

The early manufacturing efforts made in Palmyra must not be 
dismissed without reverting to E. B. Bush's efforts. He was the 
most impractical man in the world. He built a saw mill. Had he 
paused there, all might have been well, but he proposed too much. 
He also built an oil mill for the manufacture of castor and linseed 
oil. To obtain grist for the latter he induced the farmers to raise 
large areas of castor-oil beans and flaxseed, promising a dollar a 
bushel for them. The crop was tremendous. There was not money 
enough in the county to pay for it. The then manner of threshing 
was not adapted for flax. When the horses were put on to trample 
the straw, the seed was crushed and spoiled and the straw 
invariably coiled itself into ropes and tethered the horses into a 
stationary position. Thus the flax and oil branch of the business 
failed utterly. When the bean crop came on. Bush had no money 
and the crop rotted. Thus early the manufacturing languished. 
Subsequently Bush sold a claim, invested his money in medical 
books; tried to become a doctor, killed most of his patients and 
disappeared. 

Of the Palmyra boys, many reached fame and fortune. Of the 
number, the Page boys, sons of John H., undoubtedly lead. 

Cxeorge H. Page was born May 16, 1836, in Palmyra township. 
Soon after the outbreak of the war he obtained a clerkship in the 
War Department at Washingion. Charles A. Page was born in 
Palmyra, May 22, 183S. He attained a clerkship in the Fifth 
Auditor's office. Later in the war he became the New York 
Tribune's wai- correspondent. In 1866, George H., Charles A. 
and David S. Page went to Switzerland and established a con- 
densed milk factory. They profited enormously. Later George H. 
returned to Dixon, bought the beautiful Governor Charters estate 
of Hazelwood, the Doctor Everett, Big Elm farm and the Wood- 
I'uff farm up the river. Through his instrumentality a system of 
good roads was built. He liuilt the immense Anglo-Swiss condensed 
milk factory, now the Borden's, and arranged all his affairs to live 
again in Dixon, where all the scenes of his childhood were enacted. 
But while in New York city he caught a bad cold ; pneumonia set 
in and he died. Over in the old Palm3a'a cemetery beside the 
graves of father and mother and all his brothers, he was laid to 
rest close to those childhood scenes which he had hoped to 
enjoy so much. His plans for the future of Dixon were many. His 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 443 

death cut them off. Mrs. Page aud sou, Fred, still live, speudiug 
uiost of their tiuie iu Europe where they have large interests. 

While not a Palmyra "boy," yet Charles H. Hughes came from 
Palmyra, aud Charles H. Hughes was one of the biggest men ever 
produced in Lee county. While mayor of Dixon, the system of pub- 
lic improvements was commenced which are going forward to this 
day almost as he wt»uld have made them. He bought the Hazelwood 
estate and while it Avas his, he brought it to a very high degree of 
beauty. Later he was made a Representative in the Legislature ; 
then a Senator, and that position he held at his death. He 
was a man of conunanding ability. His plans for civic im- 
provement were comprehensive and practical. He conceived big 
things ; he accomplished big things, and he became the biggest man 
among men. After a day 's work nothing refreshed him so much as 
to retire for the evening to his log cabin on beautiful Hazelwood 
and by the blazing knot fire plan out something more for Hazel- 
wood and Dixon. Now he, too, is a neighbor of the Page boys in the 
same cemetery over in Palmyra. 

Solomon Hicks Bethea, son of William W. Bethea, became a 
lawyer, a legislator in the Illinois General Assembly, a United 
States attorney and a judge of the United States District Court 
for Chicago. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
REYNOLDS TOWNSHIP. 

Leaving the township of Alto, one enters to the i mm ediate west, 
the township of Reynolds, a beautifnl body of land peopled by a 
splendid class of farmers. Here one is in old Inlet still. By this 
time, the vastness of old Inlet shonld be fnlly comprehended and 
the troubles of many of the people in traveling so far to vote must 
also be comprehended by this time, although in Reynolds nobody 
yet had settled when this territory was a part of Inlet. Reynolds 
like Ashton and Alto, being oft' the thoroughfares, did not settle 
iintil along in the fifties. At first Reynolds was part of Brooklyn. 
At the present time every inch of this township is under cultiva- 
tion, with the possible exception of the stone quarries of fine stone 
lying just a little to the east of the west line of the township. Here, 
in the early day, the builder was compensated for the lack of tim- 
ber from which to build a cabin, by the presence of stone which he 
was permitted to quarry and can'v away without thought of com- 
pensation. Later, however, when its value became better kn()^\^^l 
and stone became in demand, large quantities of it were sold and 
considerable quantities of it were shipped. After cement began 
to be used for building purposes, and the demand for stone fell 
off, the stone became useless and once again this stone may be liad 
for the asking almost. Thus does the staple become the refuse and 
thus does the good of one day fluctuate and decline into useless- 
ness! Robert M. Peile, one of the old settlers, owned this stone 
quarry. At another time the Illinois Central railroad sent experts 
to it to test its qualities for building piers and abutments ; but after 
careful experimenting, its quality was found to lack the ingredi- 
ents wanted for great durability. 

The first history of Reynolds has been neglected sadly. We 
know who some of the first settlers were, but the dates of their set- 

445 



446 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

tlement never have been recorded and so in a general way only, can 
the history of this township be given. 

Sewell Reynolds, Thomas Minier, Jonathan Whitehead, John 
Herrington, Dudley C. Whitehead, Daniel Brink, Jr., and Charles 
Gooch were among the older settlers and most of them moved to 
other parts before their deaths. However, Sewell Reynolds, who 
afterwards moved to Rochelle, was the first settler, locating in 
what was known as Brush Grove, about the only grove in the town- 
ship and in his honor the township was named. Simeon Reynolds 
was the first child born in the township and Nelson Morgan's was 
the first death. 

On April 5th, 1859, the voters of the township met at the school- 
house in district No. 1 and organized by choosing Peter Mills as 
moderator and Robert M. Peile, clerk. At this meeting, Thomas 
Minier was elected supervisor ; John C. Piper, town clerk ; Thomas 
Minier, assessor; Dudley C. Whitehead, collector; Daniel Brink, 
Jr., overseer of the poor, and E. F. Gatten, John Whitehead and 
David Douthett, highway commissioners. The constables were 
Dudley C. Whitehead and John C. Piper. The justices of the 
peace were Peter Mills and Robert M. Peile. At this same meet- 
ing the voters then appointed E. F. Gatten, Jolm Herrington and 
John C. Piper a committee to divide the town into road districts. 

This meeting was held in a little cabin, 12x16, 6 feet high, 
built and owned by Horace Stearns for a residence ; it stood for 
many years thereafter on section 10 and was used as a corncrib 
and then as a pig pen. There were not many persons present at 
that meeting; the names Ivuown today are J. C. Piper, R. M. Peile, 
C. N. Reynolds, Simeon Reynolds, Silas Shippee, W. M. Hawkins. 

The low groimd, for many 3'ears a part of the great Inlet 
swamp, was not cultivated, but with the big ditches dug since that 
time, that laud is of the very richest. It is known as the Flats. 

Previous to the biiilding of a Methodist church, a meeting for 
organization was held in the house of C. W. Anient, in the autumn 
of 1875, with the following attendance : C. W. Ainent, F. F. Farm- 
low, C. F. Van Patten, John A. Edgar, Daniel C. Miller and B. F. 
Parker who were elected a building committee. Very soon there- 
after the eliui'ch at tlic Flats was Iniilt, a building 32x42, 16 feet 
high to the eaves with a seating capacity of 200. was made ready 
for use. 

In my haste however to erect this church building in Reynolds, 
I must not forget to state that that first meeting was opened with 
prayer, aftei' which resolutions were passed for the organization 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 447 

proposed. F. F. Farmlow was clioseu chairman and C. W. Anient 
secretary. G. W. Anient was made clerk and treasnrer and lie, 
witli F. F. F^armlow, C. F. Van Patten, John A. Edgar, Daniel C. 
Miller and B. F. Parker were elected a building committee. Soon 
after tlie building was occupied, A. N. Dow was chosen treasurer, 
C. F. Van Patten, secretary, and John A. Edgar, C. W. Anient, A. 
N. Dow, C. F. Van Patten and B. F. Parker, were elected trustees. 
Sunday school was held there every other Sunday for many years ; 
as many as forty membei's attended regularly. 

Another very strong church in Reynolds is the Emanuel church, 
German, situated about a mile east of the Bradford line and four 
miles south of the Ogle county line. On January 5th, 1872, a meet- 
ing was held in the schoolhouse for district 4, for the purpose 
of organizing a church. C. Gagstetter was made chairman of the 
meeting and Ernst Wiener, secretary. At the same place the com- 
mittee appointed, met on Jan. 20, 1872, and reported favorably. 
A building ('(inmiittee was then appointed consisting of John Ker- 
sten, George Sandrock, George Boley, jNIartin Wagner and Ernst 
Wiener. At this meeting the following trustees were elected: 
Ernst Wiener, George Kersteu, John Neuman, Geoi'ge Sandrock 
and George Boley, Mr. Wiener was made treasurer, George Boley 
was made secretary of the Iniilding committee. The building built 
was 34x50, 18 feet to the eaves, with a steeple about 18 feet high 
and a bell. The seating capacity is 400. The cost was about $4,000. 
Since erecting, the building has been remodeled somewhat and 
improvements to the value of at least another one thousand dol- 
lars were added. On Oct. 13, 1872, the church was dedicated, clear 
of debt, the sum of $1,100.82 being raised at the time. Unto this 
day, this church is in a flourishing condition. 

Mr. Peile of this township was one of the first, and probably 
the very first man to introduce the herding of cattle in Lee county. 
He commenced by herding something like 900. Subsequently he 
had 2,700 under his care at one time. At this time it is almost in- 
conceivable how such vast herds could be cared for, yet they were 
eared for comfortably and Mr. Peile never sustained a loss out- 
side of the June tornado of 1860 mentioned in Willow Creek and 
Lee Center histories. During that fearful hurricane, many cattle 
and other stock were killed outright. 

Mr. Peile seemed to have incurred the enmity of windstorms 
because in the year 1880 and the month of June too, his large barn, 
50x100 was blown down. ISTowhere can I find the date of Mr. 
Peile 's arrival in Reynolds, but by calculating from 1850 when he 



448 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

landed in this country, adding a stay in the East ; two years teach- 
ing near Mendota, he could not have settled in Reynolds before 
1853. At the time of his settlement, the township was called Brook- 
lyn township. 

Martin Wagner, located first at Lee Center in 1854 where he 
entered business as a tailor. tSeven years later he moved to Reyn- 
olds. John Trotter settled here in 1860. While Ernst Wiener 
came to Lee Center, then Bradford as early as 1858, he did not 
reach Reynolds until 1864. 

Thus it will be noticed that most of the first to settle in this 
beautiful township, settled first in nearby townships, and Reynolds 
was almost the last township to attract permanent settlers in 
numbers. But at this moment, Re3-nolds contains farms as high 
priced as any in the county. It was not so very long ago that 
Michael Sullivan sold his fann for over $200 per acre and bought 
another for almost $300 per acre. 

Reynolds is peopled today very largely by the descendants of 
those rugged old pioneer Gennans who settled in Bradford and 
China at first and then when the prices of their lands advanced, 
they crossed over into Re}Tiolds and by remaining, they have been 
made rich to the last man. From the inquiries I have made con- 
cerning Reynolds I find that every person there is rich in worlds 
goods. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 
SOUTH DIXON TOWNSHIP 

In the treatment of the township of Dixon, manifestly, little 
can be said of the olden day because for most of its history, the 
township was included within the township of Dixon, and most of 
the old time history jDcrtained to Dixon and has been told already. 
However, this chapter cannot be dismissed with any such expla- 
nation as that. Since its separation from the present township of 
Dixon, much has happened in South Dixon which deserves close 
attention from the historian. 

If no more than the old red brick schoolhouse were to be treated, 
that historian would have his hands full for a considerable period 
of time. Nine-tenths of the boys and girls of Dixon who have 
amounted to anything in the world have taught school in the old 
red brick. The old debates there have attracted the very best there 
was in all the countryside and in Dixon to thresh out a decision. 
The flights of eloquence which have battered those sacred old walls 
would have annihilated any built less foimidable. 

Who is tlieve of lialf a centm-y ago who does not remember the 
bursts of rhetoric supplied by Ephraim H. Groh'? Who that ever 
has seen and heard him can forget Abram Brown, one of the most 
delightful gentleman that ever entered the borders of Lee county ? 
To possess those two gentlemen and to honor them will lend to 
South Dixon a history worth Avhile. 

The old red brick stands today as modestly as it stood the day 
it was built ; I wish I could find out just when it was built. Mod- 
estly I say, yet valiantly, when Mr. Brown wrote his brief his- 
torical sketch of this township, he very modestly omitted the 
schoolhouse and its debating society. This debating society was 
organized in the year 1858, under the title, The Edsonville Literary 
and Debating Society. Its first meeting was in this old brick school- 

449 



450 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

house, so that it was standing then. The "corners" were called 
Edsonville. Mr. Brown who was a member of it from its birth 
until his death, was its first honored president. 

Never was there a political campaign during the old days but 
the red brick was used week after week, and from the little ros- 
trum, Elihu B. Washburne, Horatio C. Burchard, Tom Turner, 
James L. Camp, Col. John Dement, and Shelby M. Cullom have 
spoken. 

Today tliose same corners are called St. James and a church 
opposite the old red brick has been built, taking the name per- 
haps from the name of the church, ' ' St. James Lutheran. ' ' At one 
time the attendance at this school was 120, more than at any other 
school in the county outside the cities of Amboy and Dixon. 

Joseph Cortright was the first permanent settler. In 1839 he 
died and after that, the ^^adow and her son, Richard removed to 
Dixon to live. Before that date, however, a young man whose 
name has not been left behind, settled in 1836. He staked out a 
claim near the three mile l^ranch on the Chicago road. Shortly 
afterw^^rds Peter McKenney and his good wife, Aunty Rhoda 
came along and through some misunderstanding, the}' jumped the 
young man 's claim. Uncle Peter was about as hard headed as most 
men and when his head "was sot" as he termed it himself, he was 
as immovable as the rocks of Gibraltar. When told that he had 
jumped the young man's claim he refused to yield to the demands 
of the "Claim Jumper's Society," and that body proceeded at 
once to make him move. When a delegation reached the place 
ITncle Peter was smoking his pipe peacefully in the shade of his 
shack while Aunt Rhoda was getting dinner. Two of the delega- 
tion took Uncle Peter by the arm and without much resistance, he 
was led over the boundary of the claim. But witi.\:'mplicit faith 
in his better half, he sent back the rallying cry, "Keep possession, 
Rhody; keep possessi(»n. They can't get us out if you keep pos- 
session." But in spite of Uncle Peter's faith in Aunt Rhoda 's 
ability to keep possession. Uncle Peter's cabin was loaded on a big 
wagon and wheeled away and the McKenneys tried no more to 
secure the claim. 

The second permanent settler was Charles Edson, who came 
with his family, of wife and sons and daughters, in 1839, from 
Pennsylvaina. That family increased to five sons and three 
daiTghters. 

These people were remarkably intelligent. They were just as 
benevolent and cheerful ; jaist the people for pioneers and to this 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 451 

very day the Edsons are remembered for tlieir many virtues. Mr. 
Brown tells a very amusing story about Mrs. Edson after she had 
her teeth dravpn. Her chin, like Mother Hubbard's turned upward 
toward the nose and upon meeting her one day, Mr. Brown said 
jocularly, "Your nose and chin will have a meeting some day." 
"Indeed," she answered quicklj'^, "I'm not certain but they will; 
many words have passed between them already. ' ' 

I feel it my duty to repeat Mr. Brown's words concerning this 
delightful family, not because they are relatives of my family's 
relatives, but because they so truly and so nobly represented the 
pioneer spirit. 

"Mrs. Edson was of that cheerful, mirthful disposition that 
attracted the grave as well as the gay, while her lovely character 
b(juud in the ties of a warm esteem, all who were thus attracted. 

"Mrs. Edson was left a widow before her children were fully 
grown, but their training was Ijegun right and it was her pride to 
say in her old age that 'not one of them ever caused her a moment's 
pain or shame by any wrong-doing.' They were all worthy men and 
women, noble in nature, honored by their fellow citizens and be- 
loved by those who knew them best. To the day of her death in ad- 
vanced age they showed the tenderest solicitude for their mother, 
and this slight tribute to her inestimable worth will find an echo 
in their hearts as well as in many others. 

"The oldest daughter, Harriet, married Otis Eddy, but was 
soon bereft of her husband and infant daughter. She became a 
very tower of strength to all the family thereafter, and is to this 
day an ideal woman — practical, iniostentatious, but noble in every 
sense. She went with her brothers across the plains to California 
when the gold fever broke out. Returning, after a few years, she 
again accompanied them to Pike's Peak on a summer trip, made 
in the same way. When a younger brother lay at the point of 
death in a southern hospital during the war, it was Harriet who 
went to him, cared for him, and brought him home. 

"The family went to California and prospered. Their home 
lies at the foot of Mt. Shasta, and Mrs. Eddy was the first woman 
who ever ascended that beautiful peak. She made the ascent about 
the year 1854, and ten years later she repeated the feat with her 
youngest sister, Libbie. 

"The other sister, Lucy, is well remembered as a talented musi- 
cian. Though a sufferer from a fracture of the hip joint which 
made a crutch necessarv from childhood, she was as readv and 



452 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

cheerful as any, and no more deligiitful evenings ever were spent 
by tlae young people than when they gathered at 'the Edsous.' 

"Tliey Ijuilt the house and barn now owned by the writer — one 
of the few of the original farm homes left on the prairies. They 
afterwards removed to the place near the Brick School House, 
which is often spoken of by their name. Their house is still stand- 
ing though no longer used as a dwelling. 

"Here Mr. Edson died, and here the sweet youngest daughter, 
Libbie was born. As soon as their first home was habitable, Mrs. 
Edson gave up her largest room for a school. This was the first 
in the vicinity. The teacher was a Miss Robinson, later a pre- 
ceptress in Mt. Morris Seminary. She married Judge Fidler of 
Ogle county, and after his death. Bowman Bacon, a nephew of 
Mrs. Joseph Crawford. 

"Among the scholars beside Mrs. Edson 's children, were Mary 
Augusta Gartbior, now Mrs. James A. Hawley; William W. De- 
Wolf, the genial judge ot later years; his brother Erastus; Well- 
ington Davis and Hannah Casterline, later the wife of Mr. Davis. 

"The superior schools in that district at a very early day were 
largely due to the influence of the Edson family, some of whom 
were its best teachers. Mr. Edson helloed to build the first Metho- 
dist church of Dixon." [Note: He also helped build the Brick 
School House and was its first teacher : Editor.] 

The next fannly which came to South Dixon was that of James 
Campbell, with Mrs. Campbell, two daughters, Oj^helia and Jidia. 
The latter became one of the first teachers in the North Dixon 
primary schools and later married Eugene Pinckney. 

Reuben Trowbridge settled near the present town or village 
of Eldena with his father and the family. 

Eliram and Heman Mead came soon afterwaixls. Their brother, 
Alonzo settled a little f ui'ther to the east in China township. Later 
in life, all three moved into Dixon and there died at advanced ages. 

Just another story from the pen of Mr. Brown about another 
South Dixon settler which is most interesting: "Somewhat in 
cont)-ast to tliese, was a man by the name of Hannnill, who brought 
with his family from the poor-house of Buffalo, N. Y., a little child. 
The (^hikl was so shamefully treated that N. G. LI. Morrill, the 
county ])oor overseer or poormaster, took her to his home in Dixon. 
Ller pitiable condition excited the s^^npathy of the people at once. 
Her hair was dirty and matted, face unwashed and what do you 
think she was clothed in? It was an old coffee sack, with the 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 453 

corners cut off for arm holes, and a hole in the center of the bot- 
tom for her head ; no underclothing, shoes, or stockings. 

"Hammill prosecuted Mr. Morrill for kidnapping the child. 
When the case was called, he was read}' with his lawyer, whom 
many old settlers remember; Mackay by name. When they ad- 
journed for dinner the}' went to the old Western Hotel. Just as 
the,y were through dinner, some men stepped up to Hammill with 
a kettle of hot tar, which they poured over his head and shoidders, 
the streams running down over his whole body; another shook 
over him a bag of feathers, and then they rolled him in the sand 
of the street. I shall never forget how he looked, lying there with 
closed eyes. I thought he was dead. But in a moment he opened 
one eye, then the other, and seeing the naen bus}' elsewhere, r(dled 
over and springing to his feet, ran to some bushes near by, then 
for home. He was a laughal^le sight. On the principle that the 
partaker is as bad as the thief, the men felt that his attorney de- 
served similar treatment and attempted to administer it, but the 
tar was too cold to run easily or to hold the feathers. He showed 
fight and came near killing one of the boys. The muzzle of his 
gun was knocked upward b}' a l^ystander just in time. The kid- 
napping suit ended there, and so I think, did the career of Mr. 
Mackay in Dixon. " 

I ma}^ as well add that when the war Ijroke out, Mackay was a 
violent southern s}anpathizer and he made so many uncomplimen- 
tary remarks aljout the northern people and our soldiers, that a 
party waited upon him and ordered him to leave town or swing 
to a tree. He went South and never was heard of again excei^t b}' 
rumors now and then. 

Mr. Brown's account of the old prairie schooner freighters is 
interesting and it must be reproduced. 

"In an early da}', i^roA'isions, pork and flour, were mostly 
brought from St. Louis, Xentuckv, Indiana and the southern part 
of the state in large wagons with Ijroad tires, high wheels and very 
high, long boxes, often 20 or 22 feet long. They made a track over 
a half wider than our common wagons. Drawn by three or four 
teams of horses, to eight }'oke of oxen, and carrying from sixtv or 
eighty hundred pounds, they well deser^'ed the name of Prairie 
schooners. They went in gangs of six or eight wagons, with several 
men on horseback to pilot them and helj) avoid the sloughs. They 
sold their bacon at from 2-5 to 35 cents per pound; flour from 25 
to 35 dollars per barrel. 



454 ^ HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

"A few years later, while the men were working at the now 
abandoned track still discernible in places, of the Illinois Central 
raih'oad, some such traders wonld start from the southern part of 
the state, with large di'oves of hogs, carrying with them all the 
facilities for butchering — kettles for heating water, tubs for scald- 
ing, etc. When they came to a gang of men or to a village, they 
would sell, kill and prepare the meat for their customers. They 
carried their own corn, and gathered wood at the groves as they 
traveled ; did their own cooking and w^ere very independent. They 
lived chiefly on fried pork, coffee and hoe cake, made of corn meal, 
wet with water and baked on a board before the fire. 

"It is said that when the prop for the board failed to do duty, 
they cast lots or played high, low, jack, to see who should lie on 
his back and prop the board with his feet." 

Sjjeaking of the old Illinois Central of the thirties, just as one 
entei's South Dixon township, the old grade shows as plainly today 
as it did sixty years ago. The fill never has been plowed and the 
cut never has been plowed and in that cut there grows an immense 
Cottonwood tree. It is Lee county's best monument to the follies 
of the wild cat days of internal improvements. Jacob Groli came 
to this township in 3848. Among the other old settlers wh© moved 
in to South Dixon townshiiD in the thirties and forties, were Uncle 
Jacob and Aunt Polly McKenuey; Christon Stevens; Henry B. 
True; Caldwell Bishop; Henry Page; James Rogers; Matthew 
McKenney ; W. A. Judd ; Nathan Hill ; possibly some of these men 
did not get here imtil the early fifties, but most of them came be- 
fore that decade. 

The Illinois Central railroad runs through this township and 
the village of Eldena is located on section 36. 

The Lee County Home for the Poor is located on the southeast 
quarter of section 26, alx>ut half a mile from Eldena. Clyde Wiclier 
at present is the sujoerintendent of the home and Mrs. Wicher is 
matron. 

When some years ago, 1906. the Northwestern raih'oad com- 
pany desired to construct a line oi- road or cut-off to avoid the 
steep grades of the main line through the city of Dixon, it was 
built from Nachusa to Nelson, and passes through South Dixon 
with a considerable curve, and in a southwesterly direction enter- 
ing section 12 and leaving the township through section 19. 

South Dixon is settled by the very best of farmers. In this 
township Mr. I. B. Countrjanan 's Oak Dale fai'm is located. Mr. 
Countrjanan is a wealthy retired merchant. He had been active 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 455 

so many years he could not be idle. He deeply loved a farm and so 
he purchased a farm in this townshi]3 in the southeast quarter of 
section 8. When purchased, it was said to be the poorest farm 
in the township. For years it had been stripped. Nothing had 
been returned to the soil and Mr. Countryman's many friends en- 
joyed much amusement at his expense for engaging in agriculture 
with characteristic city propensities of the agriculturist instead 
of the farmer. Mr. Countryman enjoyed all this badinage and 
proceeded with his program. He built very handsome buildings 
on the place and purchased some pure-bred Holstein cattle. Then 
he began building up the soil. Now he is reaping handsome bene- 
fits and profits from his investment. During the season just past 
he took from a field of alfalfa of nine and a half acres, $100 per 
acre. Next year the field will contain twenty acres and the pro- 
ceeds from it will be raised to $2,000. A twelve acre field of clover 
yielded forty tons of hay and five and a half bushels of clover seed. 
The hay at ten dollars per ton made $400 and the seed at ten dol- 
lars per bushel made $55. 

From his herd of Holsteins he sold ten bulls for $1,250. Last 
season his cows averaged him $160 per head in cream. In all his 
efforts to raise the standard of productivity in farm lands, Mr. 
Countryman has kept accurate account of every cent which has 
gone into the place and all that has been taken from it and he finds 
that for every dollar of feed he put into his cows, he realized two 
dollars and sixty-three cents. His butter fat cost him twelve dol- 
lars and forty-four cents per hundred pounds and his milk cost 
.6643 to produce. 

Every day his cattle are groomed. The milking is done by 
machine into air tight receptacles. Then the milk is placed in the 
milk house and cooled in the quickest possible time. After each 
milking, all tools are sterilized. Dirt is impossible. After each 
churning, a jet of steam is turned into each machine which steril- 
izes it. 

Recently a representative from the State University from 
Champaign made a test of Mr. Countryman's cows. Four tests 
were made per day and samples were taken, one of them being at 
midnight. With the twenty-eighth milking the product was sealed 
and sent to the state laboratory at Champaign. The cow especially 
tested was a three-year-old, after delivering her second calf. This 
female ran sixty- four pounds in one day of milk and in seven days 
she ran 452 pounds. 



.456 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

Very recently Mr. Countryman added butter to bis Oak Dale 
product. He puts bis butter in beautiful receptacles made from 
spruce pulp, bolding one, two or five pounds. Tbese are shipped 
to a special line of customers at figures far above the regular price 
of butter. 

Soil culture has been studied carefully by bim. His land bas 
been fertilized and cbarged witb joroperties required to bring 
about the best results in grains and grasses and having reaped 
handsomely from his intelligent efforts Mr. CoimtrjTuan claims 
that land at $1,000 per acre can be made to pay a profitable divi- 
dend. 

Lee county may well feel proud of two enterprising citizens 
who more than almost any others have demonstrated what the 
farmer, the backbone of the country, may do if he will try putting 
intelligence into the gronnd along with fertilizers. These two are 
Mr. Countryman and Mr. Abram Ackert, now of Dixon but for 
many years an honored resident of Marion township. 

Mr. Ackei-t is president of the Lee County Farmer's Institute 
and has been for many years. By his untiring efforts in securing 
demonstrators and lecturers here he has aroused a concerted effort 
all over the county for soil mending and soil medicines. Mr. Ack- 
ert is the pioneer in Lee county. Although retired now, and 
enjoying the blessings of plenty, like Mr. Countr;^anan, he is con- 
stantly and imselfishly devoting all his time and all his efforts to 
better the conditions of his old time friend the farmer. Latterly 
too in this same township of South Dixon, Mr. C. B. Swartz, has 
bought a farm. He has stocked it with Holstein cattle and Duroc 
Jersey Red Swine and by the most systematic and painstaking 
efforts, he is building up a farm which is doing wonderful work 
for him. I^ike Mr. Countryman, he weighs each ration for his 
cattle and at the end of each day and each week Mr. Swartz can 
tell how any one of his animals stands gauged by the standard of 
profit and loss. 



CHAPTER XXXV 
SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP* 

Here is one mure township carved out of old Inlet. It joins 
Lee Center on the south and its inhabitants took active part and 
stood up against the common enemy, the banditti, with the same 
courage. 

Si;blette in the very earliest days was inhat)ite(l l)y the sturdiest 
of settlers and to this day the sons and daughters of those old 
pioneers are just as sturdy, industrious, thrifty, intelligent and 
honorable as the old forefathers who lie buried in the two or three 
cemeteries down there. Sublette village was platted as Soublette. 
Many have thought it took its name from the circumstance of that 
particular section of the railroad being sublet. But as every other 
section of the road, almost, was sublet in parts by the ori.ginal con- 
tractor, the suggestion should have no consideration. The name 
of the original plat, Soublette, should regulate the name. As to 
who the indi'vidual, Soublette, was, the oldest inhabitant cannot 
tell. He must have been a non-resident. 

The eastern terminus of Palestine GroA'e will be found in this 
township on sections 5, 6 and 7. Knox Grove is almost exclusively 
in this township, along Bureau creek. The old Cliicago road run- 
ning from Princeton ran through Sublette township. A part of 
another old state road running fi'om La Salle to Grand Detour in 
the halcyon days of the latter, may be traced through the township 
to this very day, through sections 17 and 18. The old Black Hawk 
trail made by the army in 1832, on its trips to and from Ottawa, 
and to and from Fort Wilbourn — the old telegraph and stage line 
between Dixon and Peru — entered the town at the northwest corner 

* For much of this vahiablc information tlio autlior is imli'bted to Paul Rois. associate 
editor. 

Vol 1—29 

457 



458 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 

of section 30 aud left near the center of the south liue of the same 
section. 

It seems agreed that the first permanent settlement began here 
in the year 1837. Jonathan Peterson came over from Ottawa in 
October, 183G. He had come originally from New Hampshire. He 
spent the winter of 1836-37 in Ottawa. In February, 1837, he 
started for Lee count,y. During the summer he made his claim on 
the northwest quarter of section I. He built his cabin just over 
the line in what became Lee Centei' township subsequently. Then 
he returned to New Hampshire where he married aud in 1838 he 
returned to Sublette. 

In 18;)7, the month of June, Shei'inan L. Hatch reached Dixon. 
To him, Inlet appeared move promising and to Inlet he went, to the 
house of 0. F. Ingalls, who had settled there the year previous. 
That autunm he made his claim on the southwest quarter of section 
7, where he built a log house. As thongh imitating the example of 
Peterson, he immediately returned to Vermont, was married, and 
the next year he returned. 

In the autumn of LS3S, Thomas and William Fessenden, with 
their families, came into Sublette from New Hami^shire. They 
claimed land in sections 6 and 7, l:)uilt a log house on the northwest 
quarter of 7, and moved into it in December. This is called 
the first real settlement in the township. 

In 1838, Joseph Knox settled in the south end of the grove 
which took on his name. The same year, Sylvanus Peterson moved 
onto the sontheast quarter of 5. Sometime before the year 1840, 
John ]\Iorton, R. E. Goodsall, settled. In 1839, Daniel Baird set- 
tled on the ( irand Detour and LaSalle road. 

In this same year, 1839. Phineas Rust built the first fi'ame 
house in Sublette township, on section 30. Philo Stannard aud 
Thomas S. Angier were there in 1840. Thomas Tonrtillott was 
there too in 1840 and built a frame house 16x20 on section 31 . and 
O. Bryant settled on the old Chicago road, on section 35. 

Hiram Anderson, the man whose claim was jumped and with 
which claim Bull of Dixon was mixed up, lived in Sublette, and 
the exact descrii^tion of that celelirated claim is the northeast 
(luarter of the southeast quarter of section 33, and 1843 was the year 
during which Anderson settled on it. 

About this time came Ephraim Reuiff, 1843 ; Alpheus Crawford, 
1844; Daniel Pratt; Levi Camp; Prescott Bartlett; Silas Reuiff; 
Mr. Rogers; John and Hezekiah McKuue. At this period, the 
year 1844, the immigrants who came to Sublette were to throw the 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY 459 

character uf the settlers from New England to Germany, and to 
" this day Sublette bears the imprint of Jacob Betz, the first German 
settler of Sublette. He took uj) a claim, the southeast quarter of 
section 33, near the timber known as Perkins Grove. He erected 
a log house and without loss of time began lireaking up the virgin 
prairie. Like John Hotzell of Bradford, he became the pole star of 
old and young German friends back home. He wrote them his 
exijcriences and his views and the next year, 1845, Mathias Reis 
came there to live, finding with Mr. Betz a hearty welcome. He 
spent the summer and fall with Mr. Betz and in the winter time he 
split rails for Mr. Betz all winter for 50 cents per day. 

Mr. Reis was made of manly stuff. Splendidly built ; erect ; a 
stout heart and afraid of nothing. 

The country fuiiiished many surprises for him who never had 
seen a new country. One day when Mr. Reis was busy at work 
splitting rails, he lifted his eyes from his work and there opposite 
the log he was splitting, stood a deer. Ins